Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Thu Jun 12 15:43:08 CDT 1997

At 01:02 PM 06-12-97 -0700, Curtis Clark wrote:
>Yes, but few would argue that the monocots arose as a peripheral isolate of
>the basal angiosperm species, or that the birds were a peripheral isolate
>of the first dinosaur.

Why not?  Differences that seem grand to us today may have merely been minor
infraspecific variation early on.  Isn't that a fundamental premise of
Darwinism?  How can we say that some species of theropod dinosaur didn't
have variation among and/ or within its populations in feather vs. scale (as
well as transitions between the two)?   If "few would argue" thus, its only
for lack of hard data, not from any conviction that its impossible.

The real problem -- the real challenge -- is that we want to look at
evolutionary patterns in broad, higher levels -- families, classes, phyla --
but can only study evolutionary processes at lower levels -- populations and
species.  Linking these two will be the next major synthesis in biology.

Thomas G. Lammers

Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.

Department of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts
 -- for support rather than illumination."
                                            -- Andrew Lang

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