Cbad A D B Cdab Cacb D

Figure 5.12 The number of unique trees for three (a) and four (b) taxa. These cladograms may be written more simply as (A(BC), (B(AC)) and ((AB)C) for the three-taxon cases, and ((AB)(CD)), ((AC)(BD)), ((AD)(BC)), etc. for the four-taxon cases. Note that (A(BC)) and (A(CB)) are identical trees, and both versions count as one.

Figure 5.12 The number of unique trees for three (a) and four (b) taxa. These cladograms may be written more simply as (A(BC), (B(AC)) and ((AB)C) for the three-taxon cases, and ((AB)(CD)), ((AC)(BD)), ((AD)(BC)), etc. for the four-taxon cases. Note that (A(BC)) and (A(CB)) are identical trees, and both versions count as one.

the information in all existing trees. Researchers are currently using all methods and approaches to draw major sectors of the tree of life, and such huge trees will allow paleontologists and biologists to carry out many novel studies of macroevolution.

Review questions

1 Consider the four logical steps that summarize natural selection (see p. 119), list examples for each of numbers 1-3, and consider how the mechanism could be disproved.

2 Read books and web sites that present evidence for intelligent design (ID). List some specific examples/case studies that are cited by ID supporters, and present these in the form of falsifiable scientific hypotheses.

3 Find 10 paleontological case studies on speciation, by searching the internet with the key words "phyletic gradualism" and

"punctuated equilibrium". Look at the original papers, and consider how well each one fulfils the four criteria for a good study (abundant specimens, fossils with living representatives, information on geographic variation and good stratigraphic control; see p. 122). Which of the 10 studies you have chosen is sufficiently well documented to give a meaningful conclusion?

4 How would you design a study to test whether species selection might have happened?

5 Construct a cladogram of the apes, and identify apomorphies for each node. The likely shape of the tree is (gibbon(orangu tan(gorilla(chimp + human)))) (see p. 472) - so read around and find out the cladistic basis for the tree.

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Further reading

References

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