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An Analysis of Numerical Phenetics

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image of Insect Systematics & Evolution

The methodical variants of numerical phenetics, as recently summarized by Sneath and Sokal (1973) are analysed concerning their theoretical bases and practical procedures with special reference to their claims of "objectivity", "repeatability" and production of "stable groups". Inconsistencies and deficiencies are proven to be incorporated in numerical phenetics' methodology to a decisive extent that prevents numerical taxonomy to reach its aims in theory and praxis. Moreover, a large number of truly intuitive decisions are enclosed which effect the results in an undefined and uncontrollable way.

Affiliations: 1: Department of phylogenetic research, State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, D-714 Ludwigsburg, Arsenalplatz 3, Germany


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