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Re: Adding taxa or characters?



I seem to remember a discussion on-list a while back about whether
it's better to add more taxa or more characters to a phylogenetic
analysis, and that there's a paper that reaches a conclusion on this.
Unfortunately, I don't remember the reference.  Anyone know it?

There are several. One is by Alan Graybeal in Systematic Biology in 1998. I think there's at least one in the June 2003 issue of JVP... if not, search the DML archives. -- In any case, if you keep adding characters beyond some ratio of characters per taxon, they give you less and less additional information, while there's no such limit for adding taxa (as long as there are enough characters). There are probably no morphological analyses that have reached the character limit yet, however (maybe Livezey & Zusi's opus magnum, no idea), so adding characters is very unlikely to be a waste of time.


What there is anyway in the June 2003 JVP is a heap of papers on whether to add taxa or characters in spite of the missing data they produce. Short answer: Yes, yes, yes! :-)