Phylogenetic analyses of morphological data are often characterized by missing data due to incomplete operational taxonomic units, as in fossils. This incomplete knowledge derives from various reasons, including—in the case of fossils—the numerous filters an organism has to pass through during taphonomy, fossilization, weathering and collecting. Whereas several methods have been proposed to address issues raised by the inclusion of incomplete terminal taxa, until recently no tool existed to easily quantify the amount of anatomical overlap within a particular clade. The Overlap Indices provide such values and might prove useful for comparative cladistics. We herein describe these new indices and their applications in detail and provide an example file for their calculation. A case study of diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs shows how the Overlap Indices will help to explore and quantify, which one of a number of conflicting tree topologies is supported by more anatomical traits, which skeletal regions are underrepresented in a particular phylogenetic matrix, and which taxon would improve character state score completeness.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2018|
- comparative cladistics
- missing data
- quantification tool