Gondwana, New York etc.

John R. Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Wed Jul 18 11:52:35 CDT 2001

A recent paper by Gary Nelson and Pauline Ladiges may be of general interest:

Nelson, G. and P. Y. Ladiges. 2001. Gondwana, vicariance biogeography and
the New York revisited. Australian Journal of Botany 49: 389-409.

A large part is about geographic parology based on biological relationships
and attempts to portray panbiogeographic classification in cladistic terms
(problematic in my opinion). There is also discussion of Gondwana as a
biogeographic concept (that in some ways suggests the term 'Gondwana' may
not be all that useful), and a commentary on dispersal theory (they label
"Creation myth: past and present").

The authors raise the question of whether the apparent close affinity of
the South American Osteoglossum and Australian-Malayan Scleropages
represent a trans-Pacific distribution with further extension into Africa
so the group actually comprises two different biogeographic histories. They
do not take the issue any further in discussing the question in relation to
Croizat's observations, but this at least appears to provide an implicit
acknowledgement that spatial information is indeed an essential element of
biogeographic homology.

One may perhaps notice that, apart from one theoretical model) the paper is
devoid of any pictographic representation (let along spatial analysis) of
distributions being analyzed - something that I think is emblematic of
traditional vicariance/cladistic biogeographers and may represent a useful
point of comparison with panbiogeography.

John Grehan
Frost Entomological Museum
Pennsylvania State University
Department of Entomology
501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802. USA.

Phone: (814) 863-2865
Fax: (814) 865-3048

Frost Museum

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