Fri, 27 Jun 2003 21:12:23 +0200 (MEST)

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Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 21:12:23 +0200 (MEST)
From: David Marjanovic <>

(I really have greater problems at the moment, but please, everyone, take 
me out of your Cc: lines. I'm in both mailing lists, and I read every 
e-mail I get anyway, including half of all spam.) 
> > Therefore -- because everything is weird in human "phylogenetics" 
> > -- nobody would regard a cladogram and phylogenetically defined names 
> > as too weird to be taken serious. This looks like a great chance. 
> > Who'll try? :-) 
I meant: who'll try to make such a cladistic analysis, so that we have 
a... at least a _testable_ phylogenetic hypothesis in the first place. 
(Because currently there is none whatsoever, just 19th century _guessing_ 
worthy of Haeckel.) This could then give one ideas about how to define any 
> Simple, we are all Pan. 
When we are using genera, *Homo troglodytes* Linné 1758 is indeed not a 
bad idea. But that isn't the point. The point is a) that definitions of 
names should become mandatory -- in one word, PhyloCode --, no matter 
which and how many names there are between Hominoidea and *Homo sapiens 
sapiens*, and b) that there ought to be a cladistic treatment of us. 
Currently 19th century family trees that are not accompanied by any 
_explicit_ assumptions, let alone arguments, are still the standard in 
human "phylogenetics". 
> There is also not enough hard measurable characteristics in the fossils 
> found to make a definative cladogram. Thus, until there is, keep it with 
> what we do know. 
You mean don't make a cladogram at all? I do not agree with this view. 
Sure, fossils have lots fewer characters than complete organisms. But we 
really shouldn't throw away data. Look at the nonsense that comes out of 
analyses of Amniota when fossils are not included. -- And look at the 
analyses of Mesozoic predatory dinosaurs: the tendency is towards 250 (no 
typo: 250) characters and beyond, even though complete skeletons are as 
rare as you can imagine. 
And what is "definitive"? :-) A cladogram is a hypothesis. If you can 
falsify it, fine, that's the very idea. 
The number that I've seen is that a social group of 55 chimpanzees are 
more diverse than all of us (which should be around 6.2 billion meanwhile, 
I guess). I don't know where that number comes from, and if it means that 
54 would be less diverse... :-) All I know is that geneticists say there 
are 4 subspecies of chimp (not counting the bonobo which is a separate 
species), compared to the 0 or 1 (as you like it*) of us, so that alone 
should say something about comparative genetic diversity. 
* 0 when you think the Neandertaler was a separate species. I don't think 
that's the case, especially considering Windows NT, but I don't think 
either that we'll find that out (under most criteria) anytime soon if at 
all. Which is IMHO a good argument at least against keeping species 
mandatory under the PhyloCode. 

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