limited "semi-paraphyly" vs. paraphylophobia

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Thu Feb 3 23:04:42 CST 2000

At 09:05 PM 00.02.03 -0800, Ken Kinman wrote:
>     Even though I prefer semi-paraphyletic groups (with markers that
>restore informational "monophyly"/holophyly). I would like to bring up one
>fact that strict cladists rarely respond to.  A paraphyletic group, like
>traditional reptiles, was for tens of millions of years a perfectly good
>holophyletic group with numerous amniote synapomorphies.  Just because one
>(or in this case) two clades later radiated from it with numerous new
>synapomorphies, they now regard "reptiles" as unnatural and lump paraphyly
>in with polyphyly as if both are equally bad and unnatural.

Hey, it's still a natural group, until you take out the mammals and birds.
Equally, a Permian eclecticist might have made it nicely paraphyletic by
removing the thecodonts. How "numerous" must synapomorphies be to justify
leaving behind a paraphyletic group?

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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