Autapomorphy in multistate characters

David Orlovich David.Orlovich at BOTANY.OTAGO.AC.NZ
Thu Nov 8 20:47:12 CST 2001

Hi Taxacom people.

This question might be obvious but I'm not able to find a firm
definition anywhere:

Is a multistate character that has a different state in each taxon
still called autapomorphic?

Taxon   Character
1       G
2       A
3       C
4       T

The reason I ask is that most textbook examples use binary data to
illustrate autapomorphy, so the definition is often referred to as 'a
character state unique to ONE taxon and is thus not informative of
relationships'.  In the case of the example above, each character
state is unique to each taxon, and thus I'd say that the single
character represents four cases of autapomorohy.  Is this right?

Thanks in advance.  David O.

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