[Taxacom] Geophylogeny

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Nov 7 18:17:22 CST 2010

Geophylogeny or phylogeography? Whats the diff?

From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Mon, 8 November, 2010 1:06:12 PM
Subject: [Taxacom] Geophylogeny

Nearly 10 years ago I began wittering on Taxacom about the lack of explicit 
locations in phylogenies. There are identities at nodes (ancestors) but no 
addresses for those identities, which makes the phylogeny placeless.

IMO, that's created a blind spot in the field of view of many phylogenetics 
practitioners. Since they can't *see* location in their trees, they don't think 
about it, or they regard historical biogeography as something too vague to be 
bothered with. Yet nearly everyone would agree that an evolutionary history must 
include both the times and places of events, or it isn't a history. Instead, 
it's just a sketch of possible relationships, divorced from the biogeographical 
reality in which every living thing, past and present, has or has had an 

An article in the latest issue of Systematic Biology attempts to address the 
placelessness of phylogenies by generating space-time diagrams with explicit 

Kidd, D.M. 2010. Geophylogenies and the Map of Life. Systematic Biology 59(6): 

If you're interested in this subject, I recommend that you read this paper 
critically. Spoiler alert: after a marvellous introduction, the author chooses 
to locate nodes at points 'centroidally' intermediate between locations for the 
two terminals. This needs work.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570


Taxacom Mailing List
Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these 

(1) http://taxacom.markmail.org

Or (2) a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  
your search terms here


More information about the Taxacom mailing list