[Taxacom] Pongidae (was: orangutan outrage)

mivie at montana.edu mivie at montana.edu
Sat Jun 27 11:08:58 CDT 2009


Clearly, this needs to be stated in simple, first principles for you, John.

All heritable information passed between generations, including that which
results in multiple morphological expressions when interacting with the
environment, is passed via the genome, in its broad sense (including
nuclear and non-nuclear codes).  If you do not understand this, well, we
are wasting our time.

Therefore, all information available from morphology is THEORETICALLY
available in the genome.  At least this information is available to and
interpretable by, the developing embryo and immature, or it would not
develop the morphology it does.

The genome also includes many other groups of information, including the
biochemical codes (micromorphology?) and non-coding histories.  Any
evolutionary history retained by the organism at hand must be available in
the genome.

Therefore, there is more information in the genome than in
macromorphology.  Absolutely no question about whether or not molecular
data is more inclusive than morphology alone.

So, please stop trying to debate the ridiculous.

The real debate is whether an individual analysis technique can properly
interpret the data (molecular, morphological or biogeographic), not
whether the data themselves are better. In the case of a genome, that
horse has left the barn.  We all have our opinions on the techniques
available at this time, and they are getting better all the time, but this
argument forces morphologists like me to be embarrassed by silly people
who claim to be on the same side as me.

And, just to set the record straight, I and many others still ridicule
panbiogeography at every opportunity -- I did it this morning with some
students.  I wouldn't bother doing it in the literature, same as I would
not bother with other discredited ideas.  Not mentioning that barnacles do
not metamorphose into geese is not needed in a paper on barnacle phylogeny
in order for scientists and students to understand that "ignoring" the
theory is not avoiding a possibly valid concept.  Rubbish is rubbish.

Lastly, I am amazed anyone cares about these 6 taxa (Homo, Pan X2, Pongo,
Gorrilla X2)enough to waste so much time on them.  There are far more
interesting questions in systematics.

I move that we all vote to support the idea that John's closest non-human
relative is an Orangutan. Maybe then he will declare victory and drop it.

Michael Ivie

>
> What I see in the responses by Richard Zander and Ken Kinman is this
> determination that the molecular evidence is really, really, right no
> matter how it is contradicted by the morphological evidence. And by hook
> or by crook they (or the molecular theorists) are going to find an
> 'explanation' (excuse) to explain away the morphological anomaly. The
> idea that bean counting of DNA bases is the essence of phylogeny is now
> so entrenched that I doubt anyone who has walked out on this plank will
> be able to back away (especially if they have claimed that the
> chimpanzee theory is fact). Of course I have walked out on an even
> longer plank against popular opinion. But then only a few decades back
> panbiogeography was ridiculed out of hand, and while it is now just
> generally ignored (standard scientific procedure by the majority - one
> technique that should be taught to students in science classes so they
> can recognize it in themselves or others), one can no longer get away
> with ridicule.
>
> 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, June 25, 2009 10:18 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] Pongidae (was: orangutan outrage)
>
> Richard Zander wrote:
>      If gorilla and pan were on a very short shared branch that did not
> show up in molecular cladograms, then the paraphyletic group homo-pongo
> would be the ancestor of gorilla-pan (mapping the traits that
> characterize the taxa). Any evidence for a short molecular branch
> connecting gorilla and pan?
> ----------------------------------------------------
>  Dear All,
>       Richard Zander brings up a very important point.  The group
> "Homo-Pongo" (and their extinct relatives) could very well have
> paraphyletically given rise to a Gorilla-Pan clade.  If so, one might
> regard gorillas as just overgrown chimps.  This would not surprise me in
> the least.  And it would also mean that the morphological similarities
> between humans and orangutans are retained plesiomorphies of the great
> apes that were subsequently lost in a Gorilla-Pan clade.
>       That is why I think a thorough evaluation of great ape genomes is
> so important.  Whether the first such evaluation is "thorough" enough to
> convince the vast majority of scientists remains to be seen.  My own
> personal expectation is that it will support an African clade (Gorilla,
> Pan, and Homo) with orangutans as an outgroup (sorry, John).  However, I
> have no strong expectations whether Pan (chimps) will clade exclusively
> with gorillas or with humans.  We shall see.   Until then, I see no need
> to comment further.  And as I have pointed out several times, my Family
> Pongidae will remain paraphyletic with respect to Family Hominidae no
> matter what the results are.  The results will only affect which genus
> of Pongidae that I will code as the sister group to Hominidae.
>            --------Ken Kinman
>
>
>
>
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