Human origins

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jan 22 18:26:11 CST 2004


Dear All,
      As many of you know, I usually have a pretty
strong opinion about debates like this, either one way
or the other.  In this case, I am still on the fence
(although if I HAD to make a decision today, I would
admittedly probably have to continue coding a
chimp-human clade rather than the orangutan-human
alternative).  Luckily I don't have to make such a
decision anytime soon.
      What bothers me most (as it apparently does John
as well) is the paucity of explicit morphological
synapomorphies for a chimp-human clade.  Although I
must admit the molecular evidence seems rather
convincing (from what very little I personally have
had time to examine), the lack of rigorous cladistic
analysis on the morphological side is very disturbing.
      Anyway, I still haven't ruled out the
possibility that a "chimp-human" clade and an
"orangutan-human" clade are BOTH wrong, and that
Hominidae split off between an "orangutan" clade and a
"gorilla-chimp" clade.  I am truly undecided at this
point in this case.  I wish I had more time to study
it in detail myself, but I will nevertheless be
watching the debate carefully as it unfolds.
         ------ Cheers,
                 Ken Kinman

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