ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Upstart Phylogenists Slug it Out Over Primate Data

Caviling, carping, and quarreling, is this any way to advance science? New HAVEN, CONN. "For a science that deals with the apparently simple question of who is related to whom, phylogeny has been positively littered with bones of contention. The root problem, explains former Yale University taxonomist Charles Sibley, is that a creatures appearance may not always bean accurate guide to its place in the pantheon of beasts. So until recently, phylogenists were left to cavil over the appropriate

Bruce Fellman
Caviling, carping, and quarreling, is this any way to advance science?

New HAVEN, CONN. "For a science that deals with the apparently simple question of who is related to whom, phylogeny has been positively littered with bones of contention. The root problem, explains former Yale University taxonomist Charles Sibley, is that a creatures appearance may not always bean accurate guide to its place in the pantheon of beasts. So until recently, phylogenists were left to cavil over the appropriate measures of relatedness.

But then came a high-tech, molecular genetics procedure known as DNA hybridization that precisely measures genetic differences between organisms. Many scientists became ecstatic as Sibley and other scientists developed and refined the technique over the last decade or so. "Perhaps we should The Great Ape Debate Degenerates Into A mount the parapets and shout: ‘The problem of phylogeny has been solved,’ rhapsodized Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT