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newsmgr at merrimack.edu newsmgr at merrimack.edu
Fri Oct 10 10:11:41 EST 1997

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Subject: (no subject)
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From: Mark Siddall <msiddall at umich.edu>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 02:50:08 -0400
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Joe Felsenstein wrote:
> >  [And why aren't any of these papers cited by systematic
> >biologists who use the technique?]
> Partly it's just become so well-known that no one cites an origin for
> it.  But partly it's the Not Invented Here syndrome.  The phylogenetic
> systematics school has let all work before 1969 fall into the memory hole,
> preferring to cite Hennig as the originator of numerical work on phylogenies.

This is a wholesale misrepresentation intended, in would seem, to merely
slander the school of thought with which Felsenstein retains so much
disdain.  In the first place, none in the phylogenetic systematics
school would have much reason to reference UPGMA at all for obvious
reasons, and so Felsenstein's comment is irrelevant.  Secondly, no one
ever has attributed UPGMA to Hennig.  Third, a mere cursory reading of
the literature will demonsatrate that cladists were more aware of the
origins for numerical methods than many others (e.g., Nelson's
revisiting Jardine's work).  That Hennig did not happen to use the word
"parsimony" hardly means that Camin and Sokal originated the idea. 

Rather than taking Felsenstein's ipse dixit, the scholarly student would
be wise to read Farris, J. S. and Kluge, A. G. 1997. Parsimony and
History. Syst Biol 46: 215, and references therein.


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