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Re: Morpho v molecular (was Re: Tinamous: living dinosaurs)
This brings to mind something else that concerns me. Are molecular
phylogenies tested and re-tested by the addition of new taxa (when
possible) and/or new sequence data until the tree "looks right".
The former. Work on placental phylogeny didn't end in 2001, that's when
it started in earnest.
Come on. "They" are not more intellectually dishonest than "we".
But what if the whale/hippo/ruminantian clade is also "wrong"? How
would we know? If we've exhausted the option of taxon sampling, is
stringing together even more gene sequences going to resolve the
problem if the gene sequences themselves are the problem?
Wouldn't then particular gene sequences which evolve too quickly or
whatever be the problem?
It goes without saying that different genes sometimes tell different
stories. Metaves/Coronaves is perhaps the most famous example on this
With turtles, I think we've hit a wall in relying on molecular-based
phylogenies to tell us where turtles came from. IMHO, the fossil
record is our only hope.
Here, too, I think it's actually the lepidosaurs that are misplaced in
most molecule-based phylogenies, not the turtles. But you're right, the
potential taxon sample for molecule-based analysis is limited in