The statistical zap versus the shotgun approach

  • James C. Brower
  • Julia Veinus


Multivariate analysis is used in the search for one or more types of structure. The statistical zap applies a single method to determine one preselected type of structure. Several zaps suffice to ascertain several types of structure. The statistical shotgun represents an alternative approach. Here, a series of methods is applied to the data with the intent of ascertaining all possible types of structure that may exist. If strong structure is present, an appropriate zap will probably reveal it, and a variety of techniques will determine the same general structure. If only the main structure is required, the zap is adequate. In this situation, the shotgun will display a basic consistency which is at least reassuring. However, zaps may fail to detect a more subtle secondary structure of geological interest which will be displayed by the shotgun. For weakly structured data, a zap will only determine one type of structure but the shotgun reveals all. Study of the ontogeny of Parastylonurus myops(Clarke), a Lower Silurian eurypterid from New York (USA) shows the virtues of the statistical shotgun.

Key words

canonical correlation cluster analysis correlation discriminant analysis factor analysis multivariate analysis numerical taxonomy principal coordinates regression analysis statistics allometry eurypterids integration and coordination ontogeny paleontology relative growth 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. Brower
    • 1
  • Julia Veinus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologySyracuse UniversityUSA

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