Is a new method going to "shake up" hominid phylogenetics?


Oh, you know I can't manage a one-word post here. I can't get the paper yet -- now Nature has moved to the annoying press-release-long-before-paper-appears model! But I haven't read anything in the press yet that makes any sense. Most stories (and here) just seem to be press-release-regurges.

To me, this is the key passage:

The team goes back over the same well-known set of specimens, but uses a different approach to analyse it, focussing in particular on a set of fundamental yet long-term changes in skull shape.
They took digital 3D images of the casts of 17 hominid specimens as well as from a gorilla, chimpanzee and H. sapiens.

Well, that certainly sounds like the way we teach 100-level hominid phylogeny labs when we only have 17 casts. But it doesn't sound very much like the kind of careful character analysis that ought to go into a test of a phylogenetic hypothesis.

UPDATE(2008/05/06): More thoughts upon reading the paper here.