The paper is part of a new journal called Evolution: Education and Outreach - aimed at science school teachers rather than academia in general. The paper is a rather typical guide to homology - for instance:
- "Homologies are traits present in two or more organisms that were inherited from the common ancestor of those organisms. The human five-fingered hand and the five-toed foot of a lizard, for example, were both inherited from our common ancestor that lived more than 300 Mya" (p. 498).
Why would a paper titled 'Bringing Homologies Into Focus' give more space to explaining analogies and homoplasies? Is the absence of homology really more interesting? If so, we would assume non-evolution is of greater interest. This is a typical trend in evolutionary biology - attempting to explain why evolution is not present by invoking other assumed 'evolutionary' mechanisms. This is contradictory and send out the wrong message. What is important is when evolution is present - namely homologies. When it is not present it should really be of little or no interest. Then why probe into the absence of evolution?
There is a misconception in science that everything needs to be explained. This is the underlying premise of paraphyly 'enthusiasts'. When a group turns out to be non-monophyletic, that is non-evolutionary, people insist that evolution has gone on anyway. Apart from flying in the face of empiricism, explaining the absence of evolution by using other explanatory 'evolution' mechanisms is meaningless. Convergent evolution is not evolutionary. It does not result in homologies, only in analogies, that is non-homologies. Why this is even taught as 'evolution' mystifies us. We wonder if this happens in other fields? When volcanic rocks are absent from an area, do geologists explain it through volcanism? They could, but it would be very silly indeed.
Anastasia Thanukos (2008). Bringing Homologies Into Focus. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 1 (4), 498-504 DOI: 10.1007/s12052-008-0080-5