[Taxacom] hominid evidence

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Sun Jul 5 09:01:26 CDT 2009


Just calling 'cladists' obsessive compulsives does not solve anything
any more than calling 'paraphyleticists' the same thing.

For me personally, I am happy to recognize paraphyletic groups - for
what they are. 

As for retaining a 'Pongidae' for great apes regardless of which subset
of great apes is more closely related to humans, one could do that. But
it would not seem to be all that phylogenetically informative. Using the
term would tell you nothing about that.

I agree with Barry's assessment - let the chimps fall where they may.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman
> Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2009 9:57 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] hominid evidence
> Hi David,
>        Highly apomorphic taxa (like humans) are indeed problematic
> strictly cladistic aversions (paranoia?) are applied.  Like most
> obsessive-compulsives, we should continue to encourage them to
> their fears.  That's been my hope for many years, that they can be
> convinced that the world isn't going to come to an end if they
> some paraphyletic taxa here and there.
>       Family Hominidae as an exgroup of a paraphyletic Family Pongidae
> is a perfect example.  It really doesn't matter if Family Hominidae is
> sister group to (1) only the chimp clade; (2) a chimp-gorilla clade;
> even (3) an orangutan clade.  In all three cases, Family Pongidae has
> the same traditional content, and the true phylogeny (once confirmed
> whole genomics and further confirmed by appropriate morphologies) can
> reflected by exgroup coding (as used by myself or Michael Benton).  I
> suspect that my classification will then continue to code Hominidae as
> sister group to a chimp clade, or switch to being shown as sister
> to a chimp-gorilla clade (the second most likely outcome in my
> If there actually is strong genomic evidence for a human-orangutan
> clade, I could easily code for that as well, but I really don't expect
> that to happen (still, it would be very exciting if that did turn out
> be the case).   It's always best to be prepared for the unexpected.  I
> just want to know the true phylogeny, and let the chips fall where
> may.  I have some expectations, but no strong convictions, what the
> phylogenetic topology will turn out to be for the great apes.  But we
> need to confirm the sister group before we can truly understand all of
> the apomorphies of Family Hominidae.
>        ----------Cheers,
>                         Ken Kinman
> ***************************************************
> David Campbell wrote:
>       On the specific example of human-ape comparisons, a significant
> difficulty is that humans are morphologically highly apomorphic.  Our
> body plans are significantly modified for upright bipedal locomotion,
> whereas the apes retain a primarily climbing and knuckle-walking
> Some help for this issue comes from a study of fossil hominids.
> what to do with highly apomorphic taxa is a more general problem in
> phylogenetics, both in terms of the cladistic aversion to
> in classification and in terms of how to deal with a shortage of
> synapomorphies.
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