Character state transformations and the fit of phylogenies to the fossil record

Show simple item record Angielczyk, Kenneth D 2002 2015-01-09T12:10:00Z 2015-01-09T12:10:00Z 2002
dc.identifier.issn 0078-8554
dc.description.abstract There is only one true history of life, and the biostratigraphic record and the phylogenetic relationships of organisms provide the most important information regarding this history. Ideally, the historical signal preserved in each of the data sets should be the same, and several methods have been proposed to compare the fit of phylogenies to the fossil record. All of these techniques use stratigraphic data associated with taxa, but our ability to recognize taxa and reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships ultimately is based on patterns of character state distributions that we observe. This raises the question of whether character states can be used to measure the fit of a phylogeny to the fossil record. Here I argue that we can, if the order of appearance of character states is considered. Optimization of character states on a phylogeny results in a predicted order of appearance of character states; derived states must arise after basal states. This order can be compared to that predicted by the fossil record. Although a number of factors can affect the frequency at which derived character states are sampled before basal states in the fossil record, conflicts between the two data sets should be relatively rare. Phylogenies that imply a large number of character state transformations that are inconsistent with the fossil record may need to be reconsidered before the fossil record is criticized. en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship Palaeo-Anthropology Scientific Trust; French Embassy in South Africa; Co-operation and Cultural Service en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research en_ZA
dc.subject phylogeny en_ZA
dc.subject stratigraphy en_ZA
dc.subject character-based measures of fit en_ZA
dc.subject taxon-based measures of fit en_ZA
dc.title Character state transformations and the fit of phylogenies to the fossil record en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

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