[Taxacom] Defining polyphyly

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Wed Dec 15 09:10:00 CST 2010

Only by also stating that some subordinate taxa are excluded (which
would seem to be an arbitrary decision, not one required by the
phylogeny). There may be one or more characters that group the 'great
apes' together, but these are apparently less than the number groping
some great apes with humans rather than other great apes. So if one is
using that arrangement, there are no corroborated synapomorphies
grouping great apes together to the exclusion of humans.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Curtis Clark
Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 9:38 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Defining polyphyly

On 12/15/2010 5:09 AM, John Grehan wrote:
> There's the hinge of it all - whether paraphyletic groups are any more
'natural' than those that are polyphyletic.
A paraphyletic group can be specified by synapomorphies (a set for the 
stem group and other sets for the exgroups), so it is as "natural" as a 
monophyletic group. The question is rather, is it useful. And that's 
where the disagreement seems to center.

Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
Director, I&IT Web Development                   +1 909 979 6371
University Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona


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