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Darwin-L Message Log 1:127 (September 1993)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<1:127>From p_stevens@nocmsmgw.harvard.edu  Wed Sep 15 07:40:53 1993

Date: 15 Sep 1993 08:40:39 U
From: "p stevens" <p_stevens@nocmsmgw.harvard.edu>
Subject: Simon, continuity, and trees
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Morris Simon writes - But then again, cognitive models such as the ubiquitous
phylogenetic tree predispose analysts to interpret evolutionary continuity
in terms of discontinuous 'branches,' 'clades' and 'species.' "Willingly?" 8*}

Perhaps, but the continuity in trees is via the trunk and branches, and in
evolution, is largely in the (extinct) past; much of extant diversity is
chunked up into more or less discrete bits.  Of course, there are possibilities
(rather limited) for hybridisation, and perhaps somewhat more extensive, but
unclear, for horizontal gene transfer by other mechanisms; also, in the
ultimate twigs of phylogenetic trees that are problems in deciding just what is
a twig and what is not.  Nevertheless, phylogenetic continuity is largely a
matter of history.

Peter Stevens.

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