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By Clark, Panchen

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Sample text

Observable features of anatomy are termed characters. Unique bones or unusual morphologies would all be characters. On the other hand, “observable features” would not include what something does – or how it does it. So, for example, “bites hard” is not a character, but perhaps “big jaw muscles” would be. Characters acquire their meaning not as a single feature on a particular organism but when their distribution among a selected group of organisms is considered. For example, modern birds are generally linked on the basis of having feathers.

Biostratigraphy Biostratigraphy is a method of relative dating that utilizes the presence of fossil organisms. It is based upon the idea that a particular time interval can be characterized by a distinctive assemblage, or group, of organisms. For example, if one knows that dinosaurs lived from 228 to 65 Ma, then any rock containing a dinosaur fragment must fall within that age range. 3. Bone between two dated horizons. As we know the ages of the two horizons, the age of the bone can be interpolated between them (see the text).

3. That new group is called “Hominoidea,” as it happens, and is diagnosed by lots of characters, among which are a series of specializations in the arms and trunk associated with walking bipedally and swinging through trees. 44 Who’s related to whom – and how do we know? demonstrating its power to reveal the underlying evolutionary relationships of even inanimate objects. Used as a tool to reconstruct evolution, then, a cladogram is actually a hypothesis of relationship; that is, a hypothesis about how closely (or distantly) organisms are related, and about what the sequence of the appearance of different diagnostic characters must have been.

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