Farewell to Species - reticulation

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Tue Feb 1 11:25:03 CST 2000

At 08:22 AM 2/1/00 -0800, you wrote:

>This is a common misconception. If a species or lineage of hybrid origin
>has inherited features from both parents, those features are *homology*
>("similarity due to common descent"), not homoplasy, no matter how they
>disturb a branching cladogram.

And it is exactly the sort of misconception that arises when we worry so
much about making pretty patterns of stick-figures that we lose sight of
the real live organisms and biological processes that our patterns are
meant to represent.

Submitted for mulling over: cladistics is flawed science because it comes
to a conclusion first ("all evolution is dichotomously divergent, with
ancestors becoming extinct at the appearance of a pair of daughter-taxa")
and then seeks data to support that conclusion.  When the data do not
support that conclusion but suggest that other patterns are operative and
equally valid (e.g., when we get polytomies or reticulations), they are
judged to be faulty and dismissed.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:                     lammers at uwosh.edu
phone (office):         920-424-7085
phone (herbarium):  920-424-1002
fax:                         920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                 -- Anonymous

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