Overlap Indices: Tools to quantify the amount of anatomical overlap among groups of incomplete terminal taxa in phylogenetic analyses

Emanuel David Tschopp, Friedrich A. Tschopp, Octávio Mateus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalActa Zoologica
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • comparative cladistics
  • missing data
  • phylogeny
  • quantification tool

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