Cladistics vs Phylogenetics


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Cladistics vs Phylogenetics

Post by Chroma » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:03 pm

Hi, this is my first post, and I'm going to be looking to post here more in the future... Currently I am attending my first year of University. I'm enrolled in a BSc Biology program and my first year biology class is focused on Zoology.

My question today is can anyone clearly explain the difference between Cladistics and Phylogenetics? I can see that there are some differences between the two systems, but there also appears to be some overlap. This can make it difficult distinctly tell the two apart and is made worse by the amount of bias that seems to be present in most peoples description of the two (cladists criticizing phylogenetics for being too loose in its criteria for analysis, and phylogenetics criticizing cladistics for being too rigid and outright erroneous in its analysis and conclusions).

From what I can tell cladistics is a specific approach to phylogenetics; it attempts to classify divergence with monophyletic (also confusingly called holophyletic, a word not covered in the class) groupings.

While at it can someone also explain the difference between holo-, mono- and paraphyletic groupings? In our class it seems that mono- and holo- would be the exact same thing, while online it seems some consider para- and holophyletic to both be a type of monophyletic groupings...

The main criticisms of cladistics I see are based around clades (or holophyletic groupings) and the failure to identify shared features that were independently evolved (can't remember the proper word for such features). Also it seems that cladistics is criticized for representing relationships in an overly simplistic manor... From cladists it doesn't seem that there is much of a concrete criticism of phylogenetics itself other then cladistics is the best approach for creating accurate trees...

Hopefully what I wrote makes sense and that someone can clarify this as it doesn't seem to be very straightforward... also if your going to add personal bias, which is fine, please just make sure to clarify that it is such and not necessarily agreed upon. As it stands since looking into this I am only more confused, not less *sigh*... Thanks for any responses, I really do appreciate people taking their time.

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Post by mith » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:25 am

going in to office hours would probably be more helpful.
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