[Taxacom] ad hoc manipulation

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 5 11:15:39 CDT 2007

     The mtDNA sequences are apparently plesiomorphically similar in 
prototherians and metatherians, and then there was a spurt of molecular 
change in the stem-lineage leading to crown eutherians.  The IGF2R sequences 
apparently had a spurt both before AND after metatherians split off.  
Different sequences punctuate their equilibria (so to speak) at different 
times and at different rates.  Differentiating between symplesiomorphies and 
synapomorphies is good science, not "ad hoc manipulation" in the bad sense 
that you imply.

     As for your paper, perhaps the editor is rightly concerned that you 
still have no molecular evidence AT ALL to corroborate your morphological 
analysis.  Besides, your selective lists of morphological characters have 
already been published elsewhere, so even if you have add a few new ones, it 
is bascially just rehashing the same arguments once again.  If you could 
find even a few molecular characters to support your viewpoint, then that 
would actually be newsworthy.
P.S.  I still strongly suspect most of your morphological characters are 
developmentally connected and therefore non-independent.  And if a human 
clade split off between orangutans and a gorilla-chimp clade, then some of 
them might be symplesiomorphies (not synapomorphies) which were then lost in 
a gorilla-chimp clade. Either way, your failure to find ANY molecular 
evidence to support your phylogeny is what continues to trouble me most of 
>From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
>To: "TAXACOM" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>Subject: [Taxacom] ad hoc manipulation
>Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2007 08:39:59 -0400
>I was interested to recently read that mtDNA  analysis in 1997 had put
>monotremes with marsupials, but because that was such an abbearation
>some other molecular systematists decided to try nuclear IGF2R sequences
>and got placentals and marsupials to the exclusion of monotremes so
>everyone was happy. I am interested to know of any similar examples as
>it shows how morphology, when so contradictory to molecular results, can
>and does result in re-analysis of molecular evidence to get the "right"
>answer. This is pertinent to my interests since the human-chimpanzee
>relationship is very strongly contradicted by morphology, but no one (to
>all intents and purposes) is willing to accept the possibility that the
>molecular evidence is wrong in this case.
>For over three months I have had an article in review that has a
>cladistic analysis of the morphological evidence showing that the
>orangutan-human relationship is the best supported model. The editor was
>not at all happy to see the molecular evidence being challenged and said
>he would ensure a fair review.
>John Grehan

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