Oragnutan relationships

John R. Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Thu Apr 11 13:16:07 CDT 2002

>constructing phylogenetic hypotheses.  In any case, regardless of the
>nature of
>the data or the form of analysis, one cannot identify a character as a
>synapomorphy until a phylogenetic hypothesis has been made (i.e., the data
>been used to construct a phylogenetic tree).


Perhaps so, but it seems a lot of people do just that - identify characters
as synapomorphies before there is any analysis to determine which
'synapomorphies' give the best agreement.

Whatever one may debate about the difference between phylogenies with
characters that are initially polarized into 'derived' and 'primitive'
characters and those methods that do not, the statement in the Science and
Creationism book that (p. 29) "..we share a recent common ancestor with
chimpanzees and gorillas" and"we are less similar to the Asian apes.." is
not a fact, but one particular point of view on the phylogeny of hominids
that is controversial among primate systematists.

It will be most interesting (for me at least) to see how these matters develop.

Whatever position one may take on which phylogeny is more correct, the
multiplicity of views regarding hominid phylogeny shows the serious
deficiency of presenting evolutionary theory as a doctrine of beliefs.

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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