We welcomeAndrew Smith's (2000) commentary on attempts to make the best use of incomplete morphologic and stratigraphic data to understand the history of life. However, he misrepresents several recent studies that have encouraged use of stratigraphic data in phylogenetic inference. We focus here on issues relating directly to stratocladistics.

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Smith's critique begins with the issue of how finely to divide time when coding data on stratigraphic order. He notes that a highly resolved temporal record has greater potential to refute morphologically based inferences of relationship than does the same pattern of stratigraphic occurrence, coded at lower resolution. However,...

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