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Abstract

Current strategies to compare or synthesize morphology-based cladistic hypotheses do not empower individual cladists to (i) understand the origin, authorship, or structure of character data, (ii) efficiently locate and collate previously published character data, or (iii) effectively compare character data from competing cladistic hypotheses. This paper outlines the requisite terminology, methods and indices to effectively compile and compare morphological character data between competing cladistic hypotheses and to isolate and measure the most important factors behind differing cladistic results—character selection and character-state scoring. When the procedures outlined here are facilitated by appropriate software, morphology-based cladistics may overcome long-recognized limitations in data comparison and synthesis.