[Taxacom] Molecules wins over morphology again

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Fri Sep 2 10:26:49 CDT 2011

Perhaps so, but one or other sister grouping represents the most recent
common ancestor shared with humans. Morphology argues for the orangutan,
molecules for the chimpanzee. 

My view is that the molecular relationship is incorrect due to the
effect of primitive retentions that are not excluded by the molecular
approach, and artificial homologies created by alignment and other
procedures. Others have a different view.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Zander [mailto:Richard.Zander at mobot.org] 
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2011 11:14 AM
To: John Grehan; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Molecules wins over morphology again

Your problem, John, is in asserting that either molecular or
morphological analysis must be wrong; one or the other. There is no
reason orangutans and humans cannot be morphological sister groups and
chimps and humans be molecular sister groups. 

Test a silly question and you can get a silly journal rejection. Surely
sister-groups say nothing about macroevolution without some thought
about what gave rise to what.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA  
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of John Grehan
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 9:31 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Molecules wins over morphology again

Here is a recent example of how prejudice against morphological
systematics and the resulting orangutan theory of human origin can
adversely affect publication opportunities. 


"Thank you for submitting this manuscript. It has been assessed by one
of our senior editors, who sees no basis for your argument that orangs
and humans are sister taxa (based on your analysis of phenotypic data),
or for your assertion that (authors) are wrong to believe that molecular
data are sufficient to prove that chimps and humans are monophyletic.
Unfortunately we cannot consider your submission further."


Note how the editor is able to just dismiss the published evidence as
non existent (no basis). What is truly bizarre is that this rejection of
morphological evidence having any independent scientific validity comes
from the editor of a journal that has anatomy as its core subject!!!! 


Anyway, it has just been brought to my attention that Zootaxa not only
allowed molecular evidence to be contested, but also promoted a debate
with respect to fish systematics. So perhaps we will have more luck with
this journal by drawing attention to the same kind of problem in higher
primate systematics.



John Grehan



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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