terça-feira, maio 05, 2009

Entrevistas aos bochechos: 3ª pergunta ao Paul Upchurch

RA: But isn’t it somehow stratocladistics… isn’t it the same?

PU: No, because in stratocladistics what you do is, when you are building your evolutionary tree you add information on the stratigraphic positions of the organisms and that has an influence on the tree. What I propose is that you keep building evolutionary trees in a conventional manner – using morphological characters or molecular characters if you are working with living organisms. Now, once you have that evolutionary tree you should is analyze biogeography within a certain defined time window. So if I’ve built an evolutionary tree of all dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous, what I should do is then remove any dinosaurs that are not from the Early Cretaceous. And although that sounds like a bad idea – it sounds like you are throwing away data – the good thing about it is that it helps us focusing on the patterns that happen in the Early Cretaceous. If I can give you an analogy: if I listen to a music and ask you to describe that piece of music in mathematical terms; for one piece of music that might be relatively easy… if I play two pieces of music at the same time it starts to get a little bit confusing, if I play a thousand pieces of music it is almost impossible to understand anything… the problem is if you take a very large dataset. Let’s say all vertebrates from the Triassic up to the present, there are so many different patterns that are so different from each other, they conflict. The idea is to slice in narrow chunks of time, and analyze each of those for biogeographic patterns.

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