More on Australopithecus 'knuckle-walking' characters

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Thu Aug 19 11:39:42 CDT 2004

Richard Jensen wrote

> The authors clearly inform the reader that the reconstruction played
> role in their data analysis.

Ok. I missed that. I will take a look and see why they put it in at all.

> This is an example of not understanding what is illustrated in
> and Strait's figure 2c.  This fugure is a UPGMA phenogram, based on
> Mahalanobis distances, and should not be (and the authors do not do
this) interpreted as
> an indication of phylogeny.  The authors refer to "clades" only in the
> context of other studies, not in reference to their Fig. 2c.

That indeed is my understanding - and in which case the comparisons seem
rather uninformative for evolutionary reconstruction.

> John's objections appear to me to be based, to some extent, on
> misinterpretation of Figures 2b and 2c, and perhaps a misreading of
> authors' comments (I find the paper rather easy reading, although some
> editing would have helped make some points more clear).

Perhaps the way I represented the points indicates a misrepresentation
on my part, but I have no problem with the clarifications given by
Richard as they do not conflict with what I thought I was trying to say.
Their approach seemed to me to epitomize what I think of as phenetics
(understanding that this apparently does not conform to everyone else's
view of phenetics on this list).

John Grehan

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