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HomeOccasional Paper 12

Baraminic Distance, Bootstraps, and BDISTMDS

Todd Charles Wood
Occas. Papers of the BSG No. 12, pp. 1-17
©2008 BSG.


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Although baraminic distance correlation (BDC) has been used to define more holobaramins than any other method, the technique remains largely untested. One method of testing the reliability of BDC conclusions is bootstrapping. A bootstrapping procedure has been added to the software package BDISTMDS ( that randomly resamples the data matrix 100 times and which calculates baraminic distances, correlations, and probabilities for all taxon pairs in each resampled dataset. Applied to BDC, bootstrapping can reveal which correlations between taxa are robust to random perturbations in the character data and which are dependent on the particular character states of the native dataset. Bootstrap values were calculated for ten previously-published BDC analyses. Results indicate very good bootstrap values for the majority of taxon pairs (median 100%; 70.2% of taxon pairs had bootstrap values >90%). Bootstrap values are proportional to the number of taxa in the dataset but are not correlated with baraminic distances. As a method for evaluating the robustness of baraminic inferences from BDC, bootstrapping should be used in future baraminology research.