A reanalysis of our allozyme data (Dowling et al., 1996) for four slowly-evolving loci in 215 species of snakes by Buckley et al. (2000) concluded that because of ties in genetic distances our published UPGMA tree had “little resolution, indicating that these data are highly ambiguous regarding higher-level snake phylogeny.” They also concluded that “the high degree of resolution in the published phenogram is an analytical artifact.” Our study was intended to obtain information on lower-level relationships for the snake species that we had available, and it provided support for some current hypotheses of snake relationships at that level. Buckley et al. (2000) reached their conclusions because in their analysis they used only strict consensus trees and did not randomize the order of their input data. By randomizing data input order and using a majority-rule consensus tree, we show that there is considerable phylogenetic signal in our data.
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Vol. 58 • No. 2