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Am I a Cladist?

James McInerney, Zoology jamm at nhm.ac.uk
Mon Feb 1 18:14:13 EST 1999

Dear all,

Perhaps you can help me.  Following a recent lively discussion at the 
Natural History Museum in London, I came to the conclusion that I might 
be a cladist.  However, my confusion arises because of the fact that 
possession of this term has almost exclusively been reserved for 
systematists who use the principles of parsimonious reconstruction of 
phylogenies, to the exclusion of all other methods.

Now, although I use distance matrix methods (LogDet included) and the 
various likelihood methods for reconstructing phylogenetic relationships 
(along with quartet puzzling, maximum parsimony, spectral analysis, 
split decomposition), I still think that my prime motivation is to discover 
clades of organisms/sequences.  Therefore I am a cladist.

I am also interested in temporal data...when things happened and if this 
correlates with any other data such as seismic activity or whatever.

What are the origins of the word cladist and can I use it in my .sig file?

kindest regards,


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