[Taxacom] hominid evidence

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Mon Jul 6 08:00:57 CDT 2009

We should note that a phylogenetic cladogram is an arrangement of
descendants (clades). Ancestors are relegated to nodes on the stem and
generally ignored except for character mapping. There is a limit on what
you can deduce about macroevolution from sister-group relationships. 

Question: do the known ancestors (or blind alley representatives of
ancestors) of humans have the features of chimps/gorillas, or of
orangutans? This may support the idea that chimps and gorillas are
connected by a short molecular branch, not presently resolvable.

Richard H. Zander 
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Missouri Botanical Garden
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-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of John Grehan
Sent: Sunday, July 05, 2009 9:01 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] hominid evidence


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

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