[Taxacom] Why character-tracking doesn't happen?
Thomas G. Lammers
lammers at uwosh.edu
Fri Sep 12 07:30:03 CDT 2008
At 05:46 AM 9/12/2008, Pierre Deleporte wrote:
>Bob Mesibov wrote:
> > There were no serious nibbles at the bait I dangled here recently on
> > character-tracking, i.e. investigating apparent homoplasy as a way to
> > evaluate the plausibility of a phylogenetic hypothesis.
The main problem of course is that cladistic methodology is such a poor
reflection of how evolution operates in nature. It assumes that the
entities evolving are discrete units rather than aggregations of
individuals and populations; it assumes evolution is always dichotomous and
that reticulation never occurs. Add on to that unsubstantiated a priori
assumptions like "paraphyly is bad" and "sister taxa have equal rank" and
it becomes a real house of cards.
Study what a population geneticist says about evolution, then study what a
cladist says about evolution, and you'll be hard pressed to accept they are
describing the same phenomenon.
News flash: The emperor has no clothes!
Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA
e-mail: lammers at uwosh.edu
Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
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