[Taxacom] 53 million year rabbit foot

Michael Heads michael.heads at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 19 03:54:11 CST 2011


Hi Jason,
 
Why is it parsimonious to assume that a fossil member of a group, but with an unknown position within the group, is basal in that group?
 
Michael

Wellington, New Zealand.


My papers on biogeography are at: http://tiny.cc/RiUE0
Information on my new book, 'Molecular panbiogeography of the tropics', is at: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520271968



________________________________
 From: Jason Mate <jfmate at hotmail.com>
To: Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Saturday, 19 November 2011 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] 53 million year rabbit foot
 

I think Ken´s point is that nodes on dated phylogenies come with an uncertainty range, and hopefully the authors of the dated phylogeny provided them. Saying 35my and 35my (-20my) are very different things, so it is hardly proof of a fatal flaw in the edifice on fossil calibrated molecular phylogenies. In any case, the more fossils the better the calibration. In regards to crown versus stem, I would point out that if the fossil looks like a rabbit but you are uncertain about its exact placement, you assign it to all the rabbits (basal). It is not necessarily the best solution but it is the most parsimonius.
Jason
                          
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