Adaptation and the comparative method

Trends Ecol Evol. 2000 Jul;15(7):296-299. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5347(00)01880-2.


Over the past two decades, it has become widely accepted that phylogenies need to be incorporated into statistical analyses of interspecific data. However, recent debate has focused on whether it is appropriate to apply phylogenetic comparative methods (PCMs) to the study of adaptation. Although some of the criticisms are serious, it is premature to stop applying PCMs altogether. New statistical methods designed explicitly for the comparative study of adaptation overcome these criticisms and offer fresh insights into the evolution of phenotypes.