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Axiomatic Panbiogeography

offers an application of incidence geometry to historical biogeography by defining collection localities as points, tracks as lines and generalized tracks as planes.
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Track Analysis beyond Pan


Juan J Morrone has recently published an historical overview of panbiogeography and a suggestion for future work in the Journal of Biogeography. It is somewhat unfair to publish my views from the saftey of a personal and rather sketchy website but I will... just to help me think out some of the criticisms I have read otherwhere.  For instance,  I am well aware that Robin Craw is not particularly happy with Morrone's future time proposal and if I recall correctly (from about 2009) lead him to distinguish "authentic" panbiogeography from any other.  This appears to come up somewhat in this paper as Morrone goes to ask about the work of Michael Heads labeling him as a "orthodox " panbiogeographer. While I generally agree with some of his comments about particular criticism as I have written earlier here,  let me just stick with the title.  What has been missing in panbiogeography is not so much the finding of a better analysis (which will always be in the offening) but rather there is a need to have those interested in the topic to work collectively on a possibly variable synthesis.  It does seem possible that Morrone construed the history of panbiogeography such that pabiogeography represents something that grew but did not really mature and can be replaced in the future.  I don't think that is the case.  There is no doubt that there are going to be things that appear to not be panbiogeography but the modern possibilities are a bit more interesting than a simple attempt to recapture the emphasis and period that Croizat masterly navigated (he was trying to reset the stage and now with time and tools his direct style is not as necessary - but like he always said - the records speak for themselves). "Panbiogegraphy" was the title when he was able to show that zoogeography could be thought just as he had done for phytogeography.  This difference between animals and plants is always possible to work with but with analysis this focus is actually pretty much always abstracted away (which is much less likely while conducting a synthesis).  This is certainly the case if one goes so far as I have to try to think only of  the mathematical inputs to what an artist would have simply been able to have seen already. That is what made Croizat so important,he simply saw things in maps or drew them. That however is not what "panbiogeography" is. If we hope to have an automatic machine process do exactly what Croizat saw we are surely to fail.

Panbiogeography as a name for everything Croizat did was truely revolutionary because it showed and sketched out a needed area for evolution studies.  There was no focused and sustained  effort to look at geographic distributions as a clue to past evolutionary changes.  When I arrived as a Cornell undergraduate, among other false things I had niavely assumed was that evolutionists did have some discipline in which this work was being carried out.  The fact that I could find all of Croizat's volumes in the Cornell library but no professors using them OR knowing what to really make of them was enough for me.  I had spent my teen age years collecting distribution data and I came to Cornell to learn how to both analyze and synthesize that  and further data like it. That I could spend a couple of months reading Croizat and then presenting it at a graduate seminar with some confidence showed to me how really revolutionary it was. Croizat was either being ignored or used without proper acknowledgement. It was a shame that other evolutionists did not take up his start.  My grandfather was a traditional naturalist and there is nothing in Croizat's work that he would object to and I knew that. 

Morrone asked "Why should biogeographers of the 21st century care about panbiogeography? Are there any questions about biotic patterns that track analysis can address and which hold relevance?"  I think I did begin to answer the first above.

Because for instance isolation through distance (Wright) does not simply apply to speciation it is going to be a rather difficult task to draw out for sure definite things we can say without data on the general relations of biotic patterns and individual tracks however analyzed.  The goal of track analysis need not necessarily be to address issues of biotic patterns.only.  They could for instance be used to help search for deme structures within a species. Morrone comes to a conclusion that cenocrons (sets of taxa that share the same biogeographical history) are supported by a track analysis beyond panbiogeography (as he discussed it).  Quite striking and interesting to me is that I have worked out my most recent suspicions without reading this latest from Morrone until this week (May 7 2015)on salamander speciations (which placed them visually (not verified statsitcally))in geological contexts way too old by current standards and forming what Morrone has called cenocrons (especially as I have begun to expand this to some fish and plants) and yet unless he is to say that I have conducted track analysis in something that is not panbiogeographic (at an early point Robin Craw did state my approach was "authentic") then my suggestions for shared panbiogeographic history must be track analyses outside of panbiogeography. That would be a surprise even for me if I was to be framed by whatever critics of me there might be out there as being or trying to be non-panbiogeographic. I have suggested that "cenocrons" can be defined as bisimulations.

More on his paper to come...