Taxa surviving end-Cretaceous extinction
barry_roth at YAHOO.COM
Mon Nov 15 16:24:19 CST 2004
With only the author's abstract at hand, it is hard to know just what the
author did. However, a phylogenetic hypothesis does allow inference about
unobserved or unobservable characters (such as behavior in a fossil taxon)
based on the distribution of character-states on the tree. We would need to
see the data and learn the author's process of inference to critique it
effectively. Interestingly, this leads back to another recent thread -- the
reason to prefer holophyletic groups when trying to answer questions like this.
And the hypothesis that a group of taxa is holophyletic is strongest when it
results from a cladistic analysis.
Can you point us to the media coverage you mention? I would be curious as to
whether it has to do merely with "debunking sells papers" or if there is
something more nefarious, like a tie-in to pro- versus anti-global warming
--- Ken Kinman <kinman2 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> Well, maybe it could be characterized as a bit of a cheap shot, but
> probably a well deserved one. Especially since she refers to this cladistic
> association (in the very next sentence) as follows: "This close association
> also allows the inference of modern Meliponini survival requirements onto its
> fossil cousin." Such an inference may be allowable, but that certainly
> doesn't make it correct. Should cladistic association allow the inference of
> modern bird survival requirements onto their fossil cousins? I don't think
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