[Taxacom] Evolution of human-ape relationships remains open for investigation

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Thu Aug 4 15:46:19 CDT 2011

Someone asked about responding to the critique of the orangutan theory
by Lehtonen et al (2010). Our response is now published and a free copy
can be accessed at
or I will send it on request.


John Grehan


Evolution of human-ape relationships remains open for investigation



We demonstrate that much of the morphological and metrical data Lehtonen
et al. (Journal of Biogeography, 2011, 38, 805-808) present in support
of a closer relationship between humans and chimpanzees than between
humans and orangutans are faulty. When the numerous invalid features and
suggested character states are excluded, as they should be, the most
robust theory of relationship that can be generated is between humans
and orangutans. With regard to the direct optimization method (DOM)
resolving problems in analysing molecular (sequence) data, the method,
if valid, requires that demonstration of sequence similarity is per
force a demonstration of synapomorphy. In brief, DOM fails both to test
theories of relatedness and to take into account the fact that
identification of shared similarity does not translate into
demonstration of synapomorphy.



Dr. John R. Grehan
Director of Science and Research
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14211-1193

email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372
Fax: (716) 897-6723


Ghost moth research

Human evolution and the great apes


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