Phylogenetic methodology has always attracted more than its share of controversy, so I expected critical responses to my 1999 piece on the evolutionary implications of character-taxon matrices. In that piece, I argued that the topology of a clade, as inferred from cladistic parsimony analysis of a rectangular matrix of characters and taxa, is influenced by all the taxa considered, including those that fall outside the clade in question. The inferred pattern of branching in the clade is therefore statistically influenced by and dependent on the inferred evolutionary pattern among the other taxa. This dependence is at odds with the principle...

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