Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Phylogenetic Comparative Method

by Emmanuel Paradis


The phylogenetic comparative method has an important place in evolutionary biology. This chapter aims at giving an overview on some selected topics. We first review briefly some important historical milestones including some early contributions and the relationships of comparative methods with phylogenetics. Some fundamental points on statistical inference, adaptation, and causality are then discussed. We also discuss briefly the application of the phylogenetic comparative method to anthropology, and conclude with some perspectives on its future development and applications.