[Taxacom] Underlying synapomorphies

Frederick W Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Thu Mar 5 19:44:27 CST 2009

Bob Mesibov wrote:

> My problem here is that I don't understand how the idea of 'underlying
> synapomorphies' can help me in a cladistic analysis. It might help me
> interpret the results of an analysis after it's done, but even then
> there would be other possibilities. How exactly is the idea useful?

* maybe it's not useful in cladifying a genus, maybe it's an idea that 
arises from attempts to cladify a genus, but is useful for the evo-devo 
understanding of the features of the genus that you've studied 
cladistically. Cladistic coding is a way of setting up characteristics 
in order to find least-falsified composite phylogenies, but it's only 
really applicable when there's a certain level of ignorance about the 
real details and mechanisms involved: hence the present discussion and 
the many threads on "paraphyletic species." Like all models, cladistic 
modelling frays around the edges where it's not fully applicable.


             Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
        RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
     on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
       (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca

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