, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 53–66

The impact of Felsenstein's “Phylogenies and the comparative method” on evolutionary biology

  • Priscilla Carvalho
  • José Alexandre Felizola Diniz-Filho
  • Luis Mauricio Bini

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-005-0003-y

Cite this article as:
Carvalho, P., Diniz-Filho, J.A.F. & Bini, L. Scientometrics (2005) 62: 53. doi:10.1007/s11192-005-0003-y


Felsenstein’s (1985) method of phylogenetic independent contrasts is probably the most commonly used technique in evolutionary biology to study adaptation of organisms to their environment, taking phylogeny into account. Here, we performed a scientometric evaluation of all 1462 articles that cited Felsenstein (1985) between 1985 and 2002, in order to analyze the impact of his comparative method on the evolutionary research program and what has been done since it. We found that Felsentein’s (1985) article can be classified as a “hot paper” or a breakthrough contribution, since it was the most cited article from The American Naturalist published in 1985. Also, it can be considered as a “citation classic”, since it is the third more cited paper in The American Naturalist from 1945 to 2002. In general, papers that cited Felsenstein (1985) were published in high-impact journals, and most of them are theoretical articles indicating that biologists are aware of statistical and conceptual problems in dealing with comparative methods.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Akadémiai Kiadó 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priscilla Carvalho
    • 1
  • José Alexandre Felizola Diniz-Filho
    • 2
  • Luis Mauricio Bini
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Biology (Ecology), Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Goiás,
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Goiás
  3. 3.Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Goiás

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