A new study by Fraser et al (2018) urges the use of phylogenetic comparative methods, whenever possible, in analyses of mammalian tooth wear. We are concerned about this for two reasons. First, this recommendation may mislead the research community into thinking that phylogenetic signal is an artifact of some sort rather than a fundamental outcome of the evolutionary process. Secondly, this recommendation may set a precedent for editors and reviewers to enforce phylogenetic adjustment where it may unnecessarily weaken or even directionally alter the results, shifting the emphasis of analysis from common patterns manifested by large clades to rare cases.
Fields of Science
- 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
- phylogenetic methods
- tooth wear
- MICROWEAR TEXTURE ANALYSIS