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On the Methodology of Geographic Variation Analysis

abstract1 (full description below): Systematic Zoology, Vol. 21, No. 4. (Dec., 1972), pp. 443-445.
Geographic Variation Analysis. PDF/Acrobat file     1972. Michael Soule.

The attempt to explain the patterns of characters in space seems a straightforward business, but it is actually fraught with technical and philosophical hazards. For example, the very old question of latitudinal changes of body size in mammals is still unsettled (McNab, 1971). Nor is there agreement about the causation of geographic trends in lizard scale size as is demonstrated by Horton's critique ("Lizard Scales and Evolution," this issue) of Kerfoot's and my work. Some of the confusion, and much of the disputation, could, I believe, be avoided if workers in geographic variation analysis followed some simple guidelines. I make no claim to originality in the following prescription. (Discussions with Christopher Wills have helped me to articulate these views.)