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Abstract Detail


Spiegel, Frederick W. [1].

Believing in basal lineages is bad biology.

During the last decade or so, it has become the fashion among mycological systematists to refer to the less morphologically variable of two sister lineages as an “basal lineage.” This is especially true when the node from which two lineages diverge is near the base of the tree of interest. This is bad biology, and it is an intellectually lazy approach to take. However, worse than this, this practice appears to lead many systematists to discuss the basal lineage as if it is the sole source for finding character that are primitive to the whole group. If we are ever to recognize the macroevolutionary patterns that have occurred during the history of a group, we must explicitly recognize that the organisms of any lineage are montage of both primitive and derive characters, and that we must rigorously test the hypotheses that we have about what characters are more primitive or more derived. I will offer several egregious examples of arguments that have been made when the concept of “basal lineage” has been invoked, and I will urge the members of the mycological community to eschew its use and, as editors and reviewers, to recommend that authors not be allowed to use the term in publications.

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1 - University of Arkansas, Biological Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, SCEN 601, 1 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA

Ancestral States.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 3
Location: Salon 3/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: 3004
Abstract ID:592
Candidate for Awards:None

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