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

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu Aug 4 21:54:24 CDT 2011

      The last sentence in the abstract refers to "the fact that
identification of shared similarity does not translate into
demonstration of synapomorphy."                  
       Ironically, that has actually been my biggest criticism of the
theory that orangutans and hominids form an exclusive clade---that the
identification of shared similarities between orangutans and hominids
does not translate into a demonstration of synapomorphies (but that they
are actually most likely symplesiomorphies).   
       So I think both sides of this debate are probably wrong.
Hominids probably didn't clade exclusively with either orangutans or
with chimpanzees, but instead clade as sister group to an exclusive
chimp-gorilla clade.       
      This would mean that hominid characters shared with orangutans are
symplesiomorphies of the great apes, and hominid characters shared with
chimps are symplesiomorphies of the African great apes, and most
importantly that characters shared by chimps and gorillas are most
likely synapomorphies (and that there are no doubt a large number of
additional chimp-gorilla synapomorphies to be found if so many people
weren't hell bent on proving those other two supposed clades).       
      So I certainly agree with the subject line that the "Evolution of
human-ape relationships remains open", although a third theory (that
chimps and gorillas form an exclusive clade) is sadly not getting the
attention that it probably deserves.  Meanwhile, those championing
exclusive chimp-hominid or orangutan-hominid clades are probably BOTH
labelling symplesiomorphies as synapomorphies.  So I don't sympathesize
with either side of that debate, and that both are probably throwing
rocks from glass houses.   
               -------Ken Kinman              


Last sentence in the abstract reads:
       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. 

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