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Re: Rearranging the branches of the Tree of Life...
> No, that was one of the two possibilities in the
> post (and in the
> article). Aren't sponges supposed to be paraphyletic
> to eumetazoans,
Or the molecular data is unreliable. How did they
calibrate? What clock model did they use?
Would I research the topic, I would not have done such
a study before two conditions are fulfilled:
1. Completion fo the _Trichoplax_ genome project and
ideally availability of several additional "mesozoan"
2. Resolution of the Ecdysozoa-Articulata problem to a
scenario that explains both the character distribution
and the molecular data and resolves their mutual and
(for the molecular data) internal inconsistencies.
As regards lateral transfer - I eagerly await (because
I certainly won't do it myself... no feathers) the
first dedicated study into how that phenomenon may
have decreased from "major" to "nearly insignificant"
immediately preceding the Cambrian Explosion... *how
exactly* did Ediacaran critters reproduce? And what
proportion of cells that could technically be on the
receiving end of lateral transfer could give rise to a
new individual in say _Wiwaxia_ vs an ediacaran
The conclusions of such a study are liable to have
profound implications for research like the one
discussed in this thread.
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