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By G. Dunn

Students of mathematical biology detect sleek equipment of taxonomy with this article, which introduces taxonomic characters, the dimension of similarity, and the research of central parts. different themes contain multidimensional scaling, cluster research, identity and project options, extra. A familiarity with matrix algebra and common records are the only prerequisites.

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Such a procedure obviously entails a loss of information and one might perhaps prefer to consider similarity measures not requiring this conversion. 5 Dissimilarity and distance non-controversial role in assessing the linear relationship between pairs of variables such as height and weight. When used as a measure of similarity for two OTUs its calculation involves averaging over the states of different quantitative characters to produce an 'average character state' for each OTU. Jardine & Sibson (1971) remark that such a procedure is 'absurd'.

Here some characters will almost certainly be more useful than others, and so one uses a posteriori weighting of characters in the construction of such keys. This, however, is the last stage of the procedure, and should not influence the formation of the taxa concerned. 5 Homology of characters When one makes a decision to compare the character states of different organisms or groups of organisms, one has to decide whether it is valid to compare a particular feature of organism A with a similar feature of organism B; that is, whether the two features 22 Taxonomic characters or characters are homologous.

An alternative, and perhaps more straightforward, way of solving this problem is to code the data as several binary characters (see Chapter 2). 4 Similarity measures for quantitative characters Quantitative characters such as length or diameter could be dealt with by simply converting them to binary characters. For example, one could take length 'less than 2 cm' as one state, and length 'greater than 2 cm', as the other. Such a procedure obviously entails a loss of information and one might perhaps prefer to consider similarity measures not requiring this conversion.

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