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Hypotheses Derived from Morphological Data: When and How They Are Useful

Douglas B. Webster and Molly Webster
American Zoologist
Vol. 28, No. 1 (1988), pp. 231-236
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3883233
Page Count: 6
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Hypotheses Derived from Morphological Data: When and How They Are Useful
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Abstract

This paper discusses the validity of hypotheses based on morphological data, and distinguishes between hypotheses, which are testable, and speculation, which is not. Specific examples from the mammalian auditory system are examined: a recently evolved, highly derived character (enlarged middle ears in desert rodents); and an older, more general character (the inner and outer hair cells of the mammalian organ of Corti). It is concluded that morphologically-based hypotheses are powerful and important when accompanied by experimental data.

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