Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2014 Oct 3;9(10):e109210. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109210. eCollection 2014.

Bayesian analysis using a simple likelihood model outperforms parsimony for estimation of phylogeny from discrete morphological data.

Author information

Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States of America.


Despite the introduction of likelihood-based methods for estimating phylogenetic trees from phenotypic data, parsimony remains the most widely-used optimality criterion for building trees from discrete morphological data. However, it has been known for decades that there are regions of solution space in which parsimony is a poor estimator of tree topology. Numerous software implementations of likelihood-based models for the estimation of phylogeny from discrete morphological data exist, especially for the Mk model of discrete character evolution. Here we explore the efficacy of Bayesian estimation of phylogeny, using the Mk model, under conditions that are commonly encountered in paleontological studies. Using simulated data, we describe the relative performances of parsimony and the Mk model under a range of realistic conditions that include common scenarios of missing data and rate heterogeneity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center