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AW: Notarium question

evelyn sobielski writes:
 > > Like I said, you do the analysis to _discover_ whether this (and
 > > other characters) have a single origin or multiple origins.
 > > but over-emphasizing one "important" character to the neglect of
 > > others that tell a different story.
 > Indeed - and this is where the past experience shows it to get
 > tricky: without a priori assumptions, it is often be impossible to
 > decide when some feature (I do not say "character", because one
 > feature may be one or several evolutionary characters) becomes
 > over-empathized.

That is the whole point of cladistics: you don't have to make those
decisions.  You just pour all your observations into the matrix and
let the computer sort it out.

(Not that I don't have my reservations about this; but that is for
another message.)

 > In the case of the notarium, looking at how it differs between
 > falcons and flamingos for example could be helpful for character
 > choice. (One can always hope for some non-notarial character to
 > provide a counterweight, but if a notarial character can do the
 > job, all for the better)

Sure -- but here you're talking about making two (or more) character,
or three or more states, on the basis of different _morphology_ rather
than because of your a priori ideas about phylogeny and character
optimisation.  Completely different kettle of fish.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Is there a doctor in the fish?" -- Eric Idle, "Baron Munchhausen"