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The Out-Group Comparison Method of Character Analysis

Larry E. Watrous and Quentin D. Wheeler
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 30, No. 1 (Mar., 1981), pp. 1-11
DOI: 10.2307/2992297
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2992297
Page Count: 11
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The Out-Group Comparison Method of Character Analysis
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Abstract

An operational rule for analyzing character polarity with out-group comparison is presented and a series of observations, including potential problems in applying the rule, are discussed. The "commonality principle" (="frequency of occurrence," "common equals primitive") for determining character polarity is reviewed and dismissed as a reliable alternative to out-group comparison. Based on the rule and observations, a general method for character analysis is synthesized.

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