By Charles E Oxnard
Eightvo, 1983, PP.366,
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Extra info for The Order of Man: A biomathematical anatomy of the primates
10 demonstrates differences in the sizes and shapes of groups and in the numbers of links across interfaces (from Oxnard, 1973). This representation can be shown in two dimensions, as here, for demonstration purposes, but because the data is actually nine-dimensional, the real 'shape' of the set of linked groups cannot be shown in two dimensions on a page. Nevertheless, the two-dimensional representation gives correct information about relationships between neighbouring pairs of groups. It shows that A and B, though close together, are sharply separated; that C and D, though far apart, have many links in the interface between them and thus are less clearly separated.
The visual method is not good at assessing variation among specimens and groups; that is better done by quantification and statistical evaluation. Simple observation is unable to provide assessments of the more complicated interrelationships of data such as association and regression between features, auto-correlation and cross-correlation among observations and so on. And finally, although visual assessment is often fairly good at recognizing differences between discrete groups, it is much less well able to recognize situations where data are arranged in more or less continuous fashion, where there are overlaps between groups, where groups may have complex shapes, or where other even more complicated data interrelationships may exist.
Although such overall measurements areJndeed hallowed, they have, in fact, been only rarely useful in solving real biological problems. They are apparently not as good as the h u m a n eye for describing most biological forms and patterns. Their greatest value is often little more than as components in 'keys' that can be use for subsequent classifications once the real biological problems have been elucidated (but see the multivariate statistical analyses of simple overall bodily proportions of primates, Chapters 5 through 9).
The Order of Man: A biomathematical anatomy of the primates by Charles E Oxnard