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Re: Darwin's young dead pet from Messel



David Marjanovic writes:
 > > 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 dust.
 > 
 > 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_.

Well, kind of.  What they actually said IN THE PAPER was:

        "Consideration of adapoids to be Haplorhini, as tarsioids are,
        helps to explain why the earliest representatives of both
        groups are so similar and sometimes confused. Note that
        Darwinius masillae, and adapoids contemporary with early
        tarsioids, could represent a stem group from which later
        anthropoid primates evolved, but we are not advocating this
        here, nor do we consider either Darwinius or adapoids to be
        anthropoids."

Which seems sufficiently well-warranted to be mentioned as an untested
but intriguing hypothesis.

Of course, what they said in the media is a rather different matter.
But you can't blame PLoS, or the paper itself, for that.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "I remember when legal used to mean lawful; now it means some
         kind of loophole." -- Leo Kessler.