The seven deadly sins of comparative analysis


R. P. Freckleton, Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.
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Phylogenetic comparative methods are extremely commonly used in evolutionary biology. In this paper, I highlight some of the problems that are frequently encountered in comparative analyses and review how they can be fixed. In broad terms, the problems boil down to a lack of appreciation of the underlying assumptions of comparative methods, as well as problems with implementing methods in a manner akin to more familiar statistical approaches. I highlight that the advent of more flexible computing environments should improve matters and allow researchers greater scope to explore methods and data.