Re: Lumper or Splitter?

Phillip Bigelow (
Tue, 17 Dec 1996 17:43:44 -0800

debra mckay wrote:
> (Dan Barnes) wrote:

> >As luck would have it I have Bernard Wood's paper from Forli 'Homo habilis:

Quoting Wood:
> >'Taken overall, these results suggest that species which are shown to be closely
> >related in cladistic studies are not always functionally eqivalent. (snip) [p. 45]

> I'm a little confused by the last paragraph, myself. Is he somehow suggesting
> that there shouldn't be "variation in functional adaptation" within clades?

I think he stated the opposite. Within the theropod clade
Maniraptoformes, for instance, there is extreme variation in
functional anatomy between taxa. Within this clade, the
obvious extremes are birds, which possess a highly apomorphic
manus, and of course, T. rex, which has an apomorphy exactly
in the opposite functional "direction" from that of birds.
Same clade, wildly-different functional morphology.

> I didn't know that was a criterion,

It isn't. But such variation happens to crop-up often in
cladistic studies of non-primate fossils.

> but then I'm still on the learning curve
> wrt this cladistics stuff....

Don't feel too bad. Paleotology cut the cladistics-trail. It's taking
paleoanthropology a while to find the trail. :-)