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Article: Bayesian analyses in phylogenetic palaeontology: interpreting the posterior sample

Palaeontology - Vol. 63 Part 6 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 63
Part: 6
Publication Date: November 2020
Page(s): 997 1006
Author(s): April M. Wright, and Graeme T. Lloyd
Addition Information

How to Cite

WRIGHT, A.M., LLOYD, G.T. 2020. . Palaeontology, 63, 6, 997-1006. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12500

Author Information

  • April M. Wright - Department of Biological Sciences Southeastern Louisiana University 2400 N Oak St. Hammond LA 70402 USA
  • Graeme T. Lloyd - School of Earth & Environment University of Leeds Maths/Earth & Environment Building Leeds LS2 9JT UK

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 25 November 2020
  • Manuscript Accepted: 11 June 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 21 November 2019

Funded By

National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Grant Number: P20 GM103424‐17

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
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Establishing hypotheses of relationships is a critical prerequisite for any macroevolutionary analysis, but different approaches exist for achieving this goal. Amongst palaeontologists using morphological data the Bayesian approach is increasingly preferred over parsimony, but this shift also alters the way we think about samples of trees. Here we revisit stratigraphic congruence as a comparator between Bayesian and parsimony samples, but in a new visual context: treespace. Such spaces represent an ordination of unique topologies that can also be extended to create a ‘landscape’ where altitude represents some comparative measure (here congruence with stratigraphy). By co‐opting existing visualization tools and applying them to a meta‐analysis of 128 cladistic data sets we show that there is no consistent favouring of either Bayesian or parsimony according to stratigraphic congruence metrics, and further that empirical treespace visualizations suggest a complex variety of topological landscapes. We conclude by arguing that treespaces should become a standard exploratory tool in phylogenetic analysis.

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