A posteriori and a priori methodologies for testing hypotheses of causal processes in vicariance biogeography

M.G.P. van Veller, D.J. Kornet, M. Zandee

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Methods used in vicariance biogeography fall into the categories of a posteriori methods (e.g., Component Compatibility Analysis and Brooks Parsimony Analysis) and a priori methods (e.g., Component Analysis, Reconciled Tree Analysis, and Three Area Statement Analysis). Each category corresponds to a particular methodology that arrives at general area cladograms by testing null hypotheses in a particular way. A posteriori methods assume the process of vicariance only (A0) as a common cause of the distribution of different monophyletic groups of taxa under the null hypothesis. Whenever a parsimony analysis of combined data from these monophyletic groups results in a general area cladogram with homoplasy, the null hypothesis is rejected and extinction and dispersal are invoked a posteriori as ad hoc process explanations. A priori methods assume not only vicariance (A0) but also combinations of vicariance with the processes of extinction (A1) and dispersal (A2) as possible causes of the distribution of the taxa of different monophyletic groups. Each assumed set of processes corresponds to a different null hypothesis. Under the assumption of independence and thus additivity of the processes involved, the sets of area cladograms obtained under A0, A1, and A2 from data of each monophyletic group must be inclusive (requirement I). Whenever no congruent area cladograms are found in the intersection of sets of area cladograms derived under the same assumption for different monophyletic groups (II), the corresponding null hypothesis is rejected.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-217
    JournalCladistics-The International Journal of the Willi Hennig Society
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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