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Article: The progress of quantitative methods in palaeontology

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 35
Part: 2
Publication Date: June 1992
Page(s): 475 484
Author(s): J. T. Temple
Addition Information

How to Cite

TEMPLE, J. T. 1992. The progress of quantitative methods in palaeontology. Palaeontology35, 2, 475–484.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


The slow progress of quantitative methods in palaeontology during the past decade threatens the survival of palaeontology. Different phenetic and cladistic methods produce different estimates of phylogenetic relations; none of these estimates is a priori more authoritative than others; taxonomic and phylogenetic certainty is unattainable, and probabilistic estimates of phylogeny must be accepted. Phenetic methods are well suited to estimating phylogenies from palaeontological data. Objective definitions of taxonomic entities and attribute states are essential in phylogenetic analysis. Outline analysis and landmark analysis are discussed, and the practical advantages of the former are considered to outweigh any resulting loss of homology. Techniques of outline and surface measurement and analysis are reviewed briefly. Temple's (1982a) review of ordination methods is supplemented to include standardization of entities, Projection Pursuit, Detrended Correspondence Analysis and Canonical Correspondence Analysis.
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