Mammalia; Stegocephalia; Amniota

Thomas DiBenedetto TDibenedetto at DCCMC.ORG
Mon Mar 13 18:08:11 CST 2000

Ken kinman wrote:
I definitely hope everyone goes to the "Arizona" Tree of Life
project, and sees what a confusing mess one sees for the Amniota.  And while
there see how Amniota fits into their treatment of Tetrapoda (or should I
say "Stegocephalia").  It's an even worse mess, and I've been studying such
phylogenies for years.  Pity the unfortunate typical student (college or
high school) who wonders what this all means.
Dear ken,
        I am going to try to win myself some friends by not rising to your
bait. Suffice it to say that such phrases as "making a mess of things" or
"incomprehensible" are highly subjective. One persons mess in anothers
obvious order. I would hope that you accept that part of your difficulty in
accepting cladistic classification is that they differ from some deeply
ingrained notions you have in your own mind. That may or may not be
problematical on a larger scale. In any case, it has been my experience, and
the experience of many with whom I have discussed this, that students have
very little difficulty grasping cladistic classifications, and actually find
them far more intuitive. Of course, they dont have a lot of paraphyletic
baggage to tote around.
Anyway, it is not for us as individuals to decide this; all we can do is
make our cases and see which way the field moves. I'm off on an expedition
for a few weeks, so I wont be able to follow up.

Tom DiBenedetto
tdib at

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