bad science or good systematics?

Michael A. Ivie mivie at MONTANA.EDU
Tue Jul 20 11:39:19 CDT 2004


Logic error.  The "thick as a brick" factors of writer and reader are
independent variables, and presence in one does not preclude presence in
both.  However, when this occurs, they are probably homoplasies.

John Grehan wrote:

> For those on this list who think I am as thick as brick when it comes to
> systematics I would be grateful for them to show me where I am missing
> the obvious with respect to a paper titled "Sister grouping of
> chimpanzees and humans as revealed by genome-wide phylogenetic analysis
> of brain gene expression profiles". (PNAS 101 (9), 2004, page
> 2957-2962).
>
>
>
> Given the title of the paper I expected to see another genetic argument
> supporting the sister group relationship of chimpanzees to humans. That
> is what is claimed in the abstract where it is stated that "these
> profiles demonstrate that chimpanzees are the sister group of humans".
>
>
>
> What I did find was that the authors started with the accepted fact that
> chimpanzees are the sister group to humans. They then went on to compare
> brain expression profiles of humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and
> macaques. In the next to final sentence they conclude that their results
> "depict, during descent of several catarrhine primates, gene expression
> profile changes that group the chimpanzee clade closest to the human
> rather than to the gorilla clade".
>
>
>
> It seems to me that what is wrong with this paper is at least the title
> and abstract. If there is any sister group relationship demonstrated
> between humans and chimpanzees, it is only in the context of comparing
> four selected taxa, with the notable absence of the orangutan. To me the
> title and abstract are misleading at the least, and moreover possibly
> deceptive.
>
>
>
> And yet it got into PNAS as a high quality work. What did I miss?
>
>
>
> John Grehan
>
>
>
> John R. Grehan
> Director of Science and Collections
>
> Buffalo Museum of Science
>
> 1020 Humboldt Parkway
>
> Buffalo, NY 14211-1193
>
> email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
>
> Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372
>
>
>
> http://www.sciencebuff.org/biogeography/Panbiogeography/Panbiogeography-
> Gate.htm
>
> http://www.sciencebuff.org/primates/Human%20origins/Humanorigins.htm
>
> http://www.sciencebuff.org/HepialidaeGate.htm
>
>

--
__________________________________________________

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.
Department of Entomology
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
USA

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
mivie at montana.edu




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