Approaches To Systematic And Evolutionary Studies Of Perplexing Groups: An Example Using Fenestrate Bryozoa

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Steven J. Hageman Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Recognition of discrete taxa is an enduring problem in the biological sciences, especially for taxonomists who work with groups that display a great degree of homeomorphy at low taxonomic levels. Selection of the type and number of characters used to make taxonomic distinctions is important because it reflects taxonomic concepts for a group as a whole. Often the validity of characters used to develop classifications is not documented and resulting classifications are therefore suspect. However, classifications can be tested for their objectivity with numerical analysis and characters can be evaluated for their relative value for making taxonomic splits by a variety of statistical techniques. In addition, evaluation of the distribution of character states can lead to insights into evolutionary histories of any group. This study provides such an analysis. Fenestrate cryptostome Bryozoa are abundant and diverse in many upper Paleozoic rocks, and are therefore potentially highly useful for a variety of paleontologic studies. However, study of fenestrates is hampered by necessary complex preparation techniques and problems encountered with homeomorphy. In addition, inconsistent applications of inadequate methodologies have contributed to an unsatisfactory taxonomy. Results from cluster and discriminant analyses demonstrate that fenestrate species can be objectively recognized. Species distinctions are most clear when all available characters are used, although some characters are more diagnostic than others.

Additional Information

Hageman SJ. Approaches to Systematic and Evolutionary Studies of Perplexing Groups: An Example Using Fenestrate Bryozoa. Journal of Paleontology. 1991;65(4):630-647. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 1991
Fauna, Evolution, Budding, Statistical variance, Taxa

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