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Re: Koreanosaurus, new burrowing ornithopod [Meta]



 You and I call it an ornithopod because the paper (and by extension
 its authors) call it an ornithopod. And presumably the authors,
 having studied the fossil more than anyone else to date, would be the
 best-placed to take a stab at what the fossil is of.

However, they say it's pretty close to the base of Ornithopoda. Coupled with the instability of our current knowledge of neornithischian phylogeny, this makes some people wonder whether *K.* could be just outside instead of just inside Ornithopoda. This is why people say this should have been tested (and, conversely, why they don't make that complaint every time a new series of tail vertebrae from Patagonia is announced as a new titanosaur).

 * = and even then, there will be people saying "that's a bad
 cladogram, because you forgot these genera."

Hey, it's only science. :-) It's not some magic method to get at the whole truth immediately.

 (you've already said that they listed the features which led them to
 their statement of who it may be related to - so how does that differ
 from a cladogram?)

A lot! If you only draw a tree and list which character state changes support that tree, that alone is not a cladogram. To make a cladogram,
-- you need to make a data matrix,
-- you absolutely need to do a cladistic analysis which shows that the tree you get is the most parsimonious one that explains that matrix, -- and you need to indicate _all_ places in the tree where _any_ of the characters in the matrix changes, either directly by publishing the entire apomorphy list and change list (something PAUP* can output for you), or indirectly by publishing the data matrix (so that everyone can simply repeat your analysis and recreate those lists on their own), or (ideally) both.