More on the 'cladistics' of sequences

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Mon Jun 14 08:42:35 CDT 2004

David Williams wrote:

> Pierre, of course, continues not to get to grips with Cladistics but simply
> cites numerical taxonomy papers as if they contain the last word, or even
> some semblance of advance or relevant commentary. I wrote: "Once we
> recognise that Cladistics is about relationships, the real Cladistic
> revolution was the reform of palaeontology and that all numerical methods
> are all inherently phenetic (because of the matrix and thus not
> phylogenetic) will we be able to move on."

Before we can move on, you'll have to provide a definition of phenetic so we
can determine if we are commenting on the same thing.  I do not equate phenetic
and cladistic.  If you are simply suggesting that any method that uses
observations about the phenotypes of the organisms is, by definition, phenetic,
than I would agree.  But that's not the way I (or, I dare say, the vast
majority of others) differentiate phenetic and cladistic.  Any method must
start with data of some kind; the fundamental differences lie in how the data
are processed.


Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at
Notre Dame, IN 46556    |

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