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Pelvis



Caique Soares Mulatinho writes:
 > How can we be sure about pterosaur philogeny, based on just some
 > samples of complete holotipes?

That's easy -- we can't.

Nor can we be sure of _any_ phylogeny.  All we make is hypotheses.
And believe me, those hypotheses are a _lot_ less solid and supported
that you might imagine from a cursory read of a paper that says
"The strict consensus of the most parsimonious trees shows that ..."

It doesn't take much new data (new characters or new taxa) to
dramatically change the topology of the results of at least some
cladistic analyses.

I think the biggest danger of cladistics is that it's so easy to
misinterpret the results as being much more solidly established than
they really are.  Perhaps all papers containing cladistic analyses
should have to use the heading "WARNING - LARK'S VOMIT" just before
the results of the analysis?

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Simplicity, Clarity, Generality" -- the three Magic Words on
         the cover of _The Practice of Programming_, Kerninghan & Pike.