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----- Original Message -----
From: "Harris, Jerald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 6:03 PM
We simply used Clarke & Norell's matrix, with a few changes and
additions -- we didn't try to change or add codings from anything we
hadn't personally seen (well, Luis & Jingmai probably saw, and they did
contribute to our changes for a few things), including _Enaliornis_. This
wasn't because we were/are lazy -- we are trying hard to get the funding
we'll need to go see as many of these things in person as humanly
possible -- but because our analysis was preliminary.
That's clear. That's why I asked -- instead of assuming an answer. :^)
Rest assured also that a brand-new data matrix is being compiled, based in
part on Clarke & Norell and others but with lots of new/changed characters
and more accurate codings.
Looking forward to it!
Still, it does beggar the question of exactly how much faith one can put
in a computer-generated analysis when the human mind says something
else...are we Borg or are we capable of abstracting beyond a bunch of
Well... subjective assessments of which characters are "important" have so
often been shown to be wrong by now that I don't think we can abstract
beyond the statistics, despite all the well-meaning talk that a cladistic
analysis should be the starting point rather than the end of a phylogenetic
study. On the other hand, of course, subjective judgments are inevitable at
the other end of the analysis -- how to code a character.
And such judgments are again dependent on the data. Think of the sternal
characters in Mickey's analysis that I bemoaned yesterday (and every few
years again). I think that what is actually phylogenetically informative
about them is the point in the ontogeny at which the bone or process in
question ossifies or fuses. To figure that point out we'd need growth series
that we simply don't have -- apparently not even for *Confuciusornis*
(though someone should have a look at a couple hundred specimens and...).