Information obtained in cladistic analysis
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The application of elementary equations from information theory to the elements involved in cladistic analysis is formalized mathematically. An equation is derived that quantifies the amount of information obtained by constructing a cladogram from a cladistic data matrix. Given particular conditions, the amount of information obtained increases monotonically with increases of the number of taxa involved and, so, may be used directly as a comparative measure of species richness for sister groups; in general, however, the amount of information obtained is related to the distribution of character states on the cladogram(s) deduced. An example is presented in which clades representing 11 phyla in the animal kingdom are compared in terms of information yielded. The amount of information obtained is consistent for different numbers of taxa and characters used in classifications. Speculative evolutionary explanations are presented for differences of information yielded among the phyla analyzed.
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