"Characters" and "character states"

Mike Dallwitz M.Dallwitz at NETSPEED.COM.AU
Fri Jul 22 15:37:19 CDT 2005

John Grehan wrote:
>>> I would not include the plesiomorphic characters for the ingroup analysis
>>> at all. I would only include derived states

Don Colless wrote:
>> a perfect example of the confusion caused by not distinguishing between
>> "character" and "character state". ... How does one set up a data matrix
>> that contains only derived states?

John Grehan wrote:
> The usual way - outgroup coded zero for primitive state, ingroup coded 1
> derived state

In that case, the data matrix contains 0's (primitive states) and 1's
(derived states). It doesn't "only include derived states".

Don Colless wrote:
>> I am, by the way, not available for debate on the currently accepted
>> terminology for characters, states, etc.

John Grehan wrote:
> Looks like you are admitting that yours is not the only view on these terms.

John's view seems to be that the terms are interchangeable. If this is the
prevailing usage, I suppose it has to be accepted. But it would be a pity -
there was once a useful distinction between the terms.

Mike Dallwitz
Contact information: http://delta-intkey.com/dallwitz.htm
DELTA home page: http://delta-intkey.com

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