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Re: Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy"... but Jeholornis is (not!))

On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 10:58 AM,  <GSP1954@aol.com> wrote:
> A similar situation occurred with whale origins. Cladistic analysis did not
> settle the issue for many years. Then more and more transitional fossils
> showed up, combined with molecular studies, and now whale origins are much
> better understood. The cladistics sort of went along, but just good
> observational analysis was sufficient

Err, how so? I don't recall any pre-cladistic studies that posited a
relationship between Cetacea and Hippopotamidae to the exclusion of
Mesonychia, or indeed any that place Cetacea within Artiodactyla.
(There is Haeckel's "Obesa", but that included Sirenia as well, and
was not linked to Artiodactyla.)

Cetacean relationships seem to be a good case for the power of
cladistic analyses, and how they establish a framework where adding
new data refines the results, bringing us closer to the actual
phylogeny (independently confirmed by different types of character).

T. Michael Keesey