The Berkeley evogram on bird origins
(Fig. 1) closely matches that of the large reptile tree (LRT, 1710+ taxa). Only two corrections include: Eoraptor is a basal phytodinosaur, not a theropod. The caption on tyrannosauroids is, “Reduction of III“, but the illustration does not show a reduction of digit 3.
The Berkeley evogram on mammal origins
(Fig. 2) mistakenly puts Yanaconodon close to eutherians. By contrast the LRT nests Yanaconodon in a pre-mammal clade. There is no need to add the highly derived Dimetrodon to a pre-mammal cladogram. It left no descendants. Haptodus is a more primitive, more plesiomorphic choice here. We are its descendants. Likewise, the platypus (Ornithorhynchus) is also highly derived. Better to put a basal prototherian, like Sinodelphys or Megazostrodon, in its place. We are their descendants. Duckbilled platypusses are not plesiomorphic nor ancestral to any other mammal.
The Berkeley evogram on tetrapod origins
(Fig. 3) includes Eusthenopteron, which left no descendants in the LRT. Flatter Cabonnichthys is a better ancestor. Flattened Tiktaalik and Panderichthys switch places here. The latter has four proto-fingers. Ichthyostega and Acanthostega have supernumerary digits and leave no descendants in the LRT. Here flatter basal tetrapods, like Greererpeton, have a skull, body, limbs and fingers more like those of Panderichthys. Dendrerpeton has a shorter torso and longer limbs. Even more so does Gephyrostegus. The loss of lumbar ribs makes room for more and larger amniotic eggs. Contrary to its original description, Tulerpeton does not have supernumerary digits. Gephyrostegus is a more completely known representative reptilomorph. Rather than make the huge morphological jump to Homo, represented here (Fig. 3) by Darwin himself, another living reptile, Iguana, enters the evogram with fewer changes to distinguish it from Gephyrostegus. Smaller steps mark the gradual progress of evolution. Big jumps, like adding Darwin (even as a joke), throw the whole concept into a tizzy. A similar evogram was published in Padian 2013, a paper ironically entitled, “Correcting some common misrepresentations of evolution in textbooks and the media.”
By minimizing taxon exclusion
the LRT does not make the mistakes shown above (Figs. 1-3) in the Berkeley evograms. Due to its large taxon list, the LRT more clearly documents the gradual accumulation of traits that characterizes every evolving vertebrate, and it does so while testing all competing candidates.
Let Kevin Padian at Berkeley know:
It’s time to update those online evograms!
This just in
An email from Anna Thanukos at the UC Museum of Paleontology, “Hi David, Thanks for your interest in our site. I wanted to let you know that the material on the page of interest has recently been reviewed by a curator at the Smithsonian and will be updated in a website revamp we are currently developing. Best regards, Anna Thanukos, UC Museum of Paleontology.”
Padian K 2013. Correcting some common misrepresentations of evolution in textbooks and the media. Evolution Education and Outreach 6: 1-13.