Aquatic ape hypothesis - Wikipedia
If taxonomic groups should be recognized by the common genealogical history of included elements, then inferences that could be tentatively accepted as valid hypothesis of phylogeny are those justified as the most parsimonious.
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Against parsimony - Statistical Modeling, Causal …
Among equally supported hypotheses, the most parsimonious hypothesis must be preferred if it explains most observations that require to be explained as satisfactorily as any other less parsimonious ex planation.
By allocating multiple, extinct, marine odontocetes to clades that include extant river dolphins, our analyses support the hypothesis that marine odontocetes invaded river systems on multiple occasions. Extant river dolphins share a suite of morphological features associated with raptorial prey capture. Some of these character states are symplesiomorphic whereas others may be convergent, depending upon the topology accepted and on alternative equally parsimonious optimizations. On the ML/Bayesian constrained trees, most if not all of these states evolved in marine lineages, whereas on the trees derived from a parsimony analysis of the supermatrix, at least half of these characters evolved in marine taxa. Even on the latter trees, no river dolphin character associated with prey capture is interpreted to have evolved separately on the three terminal branches leading to extant freshwater taxa. Thus we find little support for the hypothesis that these characters are adaptations to river environments.