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Basics of Cladistic Analysis



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Basics of Cladistic Analysis Diana Lipscomb George Washington University Washington D C Copywrite c 1998 Preface This guide is designed to acquaint students with the basic principles and methods of cladistic analysis The first part briefly reviews basic cladistic methods and terminology The remaining chapters describe how to diagnose cladograms carry out character analysis and deal with multiple trees Each of these topics has worked examples I hope this guide makes using cladistic methods more accessible for you and your students Report any errors or omissions you find to me and if you copy this guide for others please include this page so that they too can contact me Diana Lipscomb Weintraub Program in Systematics Department of Biological Sciences George Washington University Washington D C 20052 USA e mail BIODL GWU EDU 1998 D Lipscomb 2 Introduction to Systematics All of the many different kinds of organisms on Earth are the result of evolution If the evolutionary history or phylogeny of an organism is traced back it connects through shared ancestors to lineages of other organisms That all of life is connected in an immense phylogenetic tree is one of the most significant discoveries of the past 150 years The field of biology that reconstructs this tree and uncovers the pattern of events that led to the distribution and diversity of life is called systematics Systematics then is no less than understanding the history of all life In addition to the obvious intellectual importance of this field systematics forms the basis of all other fields of comparative biology Systematics provides the framework or classification by which other biologists communicate information about organisms Systematics and its phylogenetic trees provide the basis of evolutionary interpretation The phylogenetic tree and corresponding classification predicts properties of newly discovered or poorly known organisms THE SYSTEMATIC PROCESS The systematic process consists of five interdependent



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