[Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Sun Oct 14 08:51:33 CDT 2012

Hey, I think I have a solution to the orangutan/homo problem proposed by John Grehan many times over the years. 
Basically, a pattern is not an explanation. We all know that, don't we, given Fizhugh's work? Cladists have two patterns and they usually just discard one as being not up to snuff.
Here is a consiliation of the orangutan problem (i.e., orangs are closer to humans in morphology, yet farther from humans than chimps and gorillas in molecular data).
Suppose that there is an orangutan sister group to humans that is now extinct. This makes both morphology and molecular data supportive of the same explanation of the apparently conflicting cladograms. The extant organ clade is an isolated remant of a wide-spread orang distribution that generated the chimps then the gorillas then you and me. 
One may now ask, where is the evidence? like fossil orangs in Africa, etc? How should I know? BUT we now have a scientific explanation of conflicting patterns that can be investigated. 
Patterns are not explanations.
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
richard.zander at mobot.org

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