[Taxacom] what counts

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Sep 16 12:10:18 CDT 2008

With regard to the recent discussion about homoplasy etc, I find in
practice that much of the problem can lie with the original delineation
of characters. I have mentioned in hominid systematics how so much of it
is sloppy, being poorly documented if at all (and often without holotype
access), but here is an illustrative example from primate systematics.
A recent paper by Bajpai et al (2008) (The oldest Asian record of
Anthropoidea, PNAS 105, 11093-11098) purports to have discovered the
oldest anthropoid fossil, but represented by three teeth. So one would
expect to see a list of one or more apomorphies that corroborate these
teeth conforming to the anthropoid clade. But there was none that I
could find. In addition I could not even find reference to primate
characters let alone anthropoid. Also, I could not find any reference to
outgroup comparisons for confirming that their ingroup character states
were unique to the ingroup. Yet they published a phylogenetic analysis
with a lot of characters in one of the most prestigious journals in the
US. So am I missing something? Am I just stupid? Any comment?





Dr. John R. Grehan

Director of Science

Buffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt Parkway

Buffalo, NY 14211-1193

email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org

Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372




Ghost moth research


Human evolution and the great apes




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