Tag Archives: phylogenetic tree shape

My most influential paper was a complete accident

Images: selections from Heard 1992, Patterns in tree balance among cladistic, phenetic, and randomly generated phylogenetic trees. Evolution 46:1818-1826. Orchid photo (Belize) © S. Heard.

 While I think my research is interesting and important, I’m well aware that few of my individual papers are likely to change the world.  Really, this is a normal feature of science: most progress comes from the accumulation and synthesis of many small results, not from a single mind-blowing paper.  But some of my papers have been more influential than others.  It’s interesting (and to be honest, a bit galling) that what I think is my most influential* paper (Heard 1992, Evolution, Patterns in tree balance among cladistic, phenetic, and randomly generated phylogenetic trees) was an accident. Continue reading