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Re: Darwin's young dead pet from Messel
Right. Which is why I'm a bit dismayed at some of the more extreme
criticism the authors have caught on some blogs (and especially in
some comments). Which it's true that the paper is phylogenetically
poor, it does seem that in some people's eyes, actual description is a
rather boring waste of time, and it's _all_ about phylogeny. But in
fact, the detailed descriptive work in the Darwinius paper will still
be cited long after any specific phylogenetic hypothesis has turned to
As I pointed out on Laelaps a few hours ago, the criticism is not simply
that there's no phylogenetic analysis. The criticism is that there are
sweeping claims about the uprooting of the whole phylogeny of Paleogene
primates -- claims that are made _but not tested_. The authors should either
have taken those claims out (the subtitle of the paper already could imply
that they'll do a separate paper on that later anyway), or kept them in and
tested them by doing a phylogenetic analysis.
Asserting a hypothesis and not testing it is not science. :-|
As I also said (earlier), I'm not saying those sweeping claims are wrong.
I'm after all completely unqualified to have an opinion on that. Whether the
claims are wrong is not the issue; that they were not tested is the issue.