Great Apes again (was: Red Ape book...)

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 7 17:27:05 CST 2005

     You would disregard Shoshani et al.'s character 163 just because it is also found in a distant outgroup like Tarsius (and Pteropus is even more distant).  That might be a reason to give it LOWER weight, but not ZERO weight.  And the Gorilla-Pan-hominid synapomorphies definitely are pertinent because they would help confirm a Pan-hominid clade and help disprove an orangutan-hominid clade.  But I can see how that kind of double-whammy would make you very uncomfortable.

      You seem very harsh towards anything that leans toward a chimp-hominid clade, and relatively uncritical of your own choice of characters for an orangutan-hominid clade.  Why not combine "Adult & Juvenile incisive foramen condition", instead of splitting it in two.  You call that two independent characters?  Same for "Estriol levels high during menstrual cycle and pregnancy".  They seem connected as well.  So you are giving these DOUBLE weight, and yet you would give Shoshani's character 163 no weight at all???

      On the other hand you combine hair length into a single character.  If you split it into a body hair character and a head hair character, they wouldn't favor an orangutan-hominid clade at all.  Your character choices and how you weight them just don't make sense to me much of the time.  I still think you are stuffing the ballot box in your favor, whether you realize it or not.
     ---Ken Kinman

P.S.  I am very surprised that Schwartz would reject Shoshani et al.'s characters 102 and 104 because the size of Gorilla might cause a scaling problem.  Even if it were a scaling problem, that would throw Gorilla in with the same coding as gibbons and orangutans, thus adding yet another two potential synapomorphies for a Pan-hominid clade.  You lose either way----unless you just throw them out and give them zero weight.  If you are going to be supercritical and throw out babies with the bathwater, then at least be fair and do the same thing to your orangutan-hominid list of characters.

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