Cladistics and "Eclecticism"

Thomas DiBenedetto tdib at OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG
Mon Feb 4 13:28:35 CST 2002

-----Original Message-----
From: Robin Leech
Why cannot a lineage evolve with no side or splinter groups?  Why cannot
a species change morphologically/physiologically during time and during that
be all alone?  Why cannot there be montotomous events?  Why does there
ALWAYS have to be a sister group or sister groups?
I must say, this is the strangest question I have heard in a long time.
Therefore, I conclude, that it is me who is missing something. For if I were
to answer this question on the basis of how I read it, I would have to say
that there always has to be a sister group because I dont accept that any
lineage has been specially created, independently of the rest of life. A
phylogenetic system tries to refelct the relationships of species, and so if
a species has any relationships at all, then it is going to have a closest
relationship - the sister group.
Help me Robin, what are you getting at here? And what is a "montotomous
I can envision a wide-spread species, morphologically very similar
throughout its range, becoming extinct in all but one small area, and in due
course of
geological time, the survivors change morphologically (your reasons -
habitat, genetic drift, mutation - I will not argue the "why" here) and
Yeah, so? I can imagine that too.....
Somewhere, surely, there must be a real lineage - as the word indicates - a
Once again, I dont have a clue as to what you are getting at. Look at a
cladogram, it is full of lines....:)
Have you ever seen a cladogram with a bunch of character transformations
mapped onto it? How can you claim that cladists dont recognize character
changes in a lineage?
I agree with Thomas Lammers - the assumptions have built a castle in the
sky, and some now continue to support the castle because some say it is
there, some others report that they have seen it, etc., when in fact it may
be no more than a dense cloud with a form that some see as a castle.
With all due respect to my interlocuters,,,,,,
If I could borrow this image for a moment, it seems to me to be more of a
description of some peoples understanding of cladistics, rather than
cladistics itself.

Tom DiBenedetto

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