[Taxacom] Schwartz and Grehan (2009) cited on Dinosaur Mailing List

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Sep 13 07:49:18 CDT 2011

Interesting to see this reference to our work. Of course what Ken fails
to point out is there is not even a single empirical necessity to
support his contention that molecular similarity falsifies morphogenetic

And of course Ken, and everyone else who shares his view, must sidestep
the conundrum that fossil relationships between each other and with the
living are totally meaningless unless morphogenetic analysis can be
recognized as having validity independent of molecular similarity.

It's actually quite easy to find 'true' morphogenetic synapomorphies
among the large bodied hominoids. Ken's assertion is just a red herring.
The problem is that Ken does not like the result.

Fossils are relevant only if morphogenetic analysis can represent
independent evidence.

Recently in ZooTaxa some fish systematists have also started to question
the molecular assumption.

John Grehan 

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 11:26 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Schwartz and Grehan (2009) cited on Dinosaur Mailing

Dear All,
       I was catching up on postings at the DML (Dinosaur Mailing List),
and one last week caught my eye.  It cites the paper by Schwartz and
Grehan (2009) challenging the exclusivity of a supposed chimp-hominid
clade.  Although the poster has reservations about the paper's
conclusions, he does make some interesting observations (as does Greg
Paul, whose posting he is responding to).  However, one thing that he
fails to point out is that Schwartz and Grehan, 2009, do not produce
even a single molecular character to support their proposed
orangutan-hominid clade, which in my mind is it biggest shortcoming.   
       Therefore, if Schwartz and Grehan cannot produce any molecular
evidence to support an orangutan-hominid clade, and the molecularists
cannot produce convincing morphological evidence for a chimp-hominid
clade, then I still feel that hominids most like did not exclusively
clade with either of them, but that they are sister group to a
chimp-gorilla clade.     
       It seems that symplesiomorphies are relatively easy to find among
greats apes, but finding true synapomorphies (molecular or
morphological) for its subclades is no easy matter.  I have little hope
of relevant fossil finds shedding much light on the debate anytime soon,
but whole genomes (especially certain LINES contained therein) will soon
make considerable progress in resolving this debate.  Anyway, for the
DML postings (for what they are worth), see the weblink below.     
          -----------Ken Kinman         



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