[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Ghosts of New Papers Past



Jerry D. Harris writes:
 > James, F.C., and Pourtless, J.A., IV. 2009. Cladistics and the
 > origin of birds: a review and two new analyses. Ornithological
 > Monographs 66:1-78.
 > 
 > ABSTRACT: The hypothesis that birds are maniraptoran theropod
 > dinosaurs (the `BMT hypothesis') has become widely accepted by both
 > scientists and the general public. Criticism has usually been
 > dismissed, often with the comment that no more parsimonious
 > alternative has been presented with cladistic methodology. Rather
 > than taking that position, we ask here whether the hypothesis is as
 > overwhelmingly supported as some claim. We reanalyzed a standard
 > matrix of 46 taxa and 208 characters from a recent paper by Clark,
 > Norell, and Makovicky, and we found statistical support for the
 > clades Coelurosauria and Maniraptoriformes and for a clade of birds
 > and maniraptorans. Note, however, that because the matrix contains
 > only birds and theropods, it assumes that the origin of birds lies
 > within the Theropoda.  In addition to this problem [...]

Wait, what?

You wanted to to figure out whether birds are descended from
non-theropods, so you re-ran someone else's matrix that has no
non-theropods in it.  Then you noticed that this process has no
bearing on the question you wanted to investigate ... and somehow this
is the original authors' fault?!

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "That's right, Pete.  It's actually pronounced Mi'li-wau-KAY, and
         it's Algonquin for The Good Land" -- Alice Cooper, "Wayne's World"