Homology and similarity

Homology and similarity - Homology and similarity Summary...

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Homology and similarity Summary of problems: Despite using the term in the title of two chapters, and using the word "homology" or "homologous" over 80 times, EE never provides a clear and consistent definition of homology. Their usage is inconsistent and vague, promoting confusion and obscuring the actual ways in which scientists use the term. Furthermore, the focus on "homology," as opposed to terms and concepts with clearer meanings and less historical baggage, introduces confusion to the discussion of the morphological evidence of common descent. Full discussion: In the glossary, "homologous structure" is [mis]defined as "a body part that is similar in structure and position in two or more species but has a different function in each; for example, the forelimbs of bats, porpoises and humans" ( EE , p. 146). "Molecular homology" is defined in the glossary as "similarity of the nucleotide sequences of DNA or RNA molecules, or the amino acid sequences of proteins." In the text of this chapter, homology is never explicitly defined, but is referred to in the context of "similarities," without any restrictions regarding function. As discussed below, similarity of developmental pathways is treated as a requirement of anatomical homology, but is not included in any definitions. None of these definitions match the actual way scientists define and use the term homology, let alone how scientists evaluate the anatomical evidence for common descent. To choose a trivial example, evolutionary biologists agree that the hooves of a cow and the
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Homology and similarity - Homology and similarity Summary...

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