A Phylogenic Analysis of Cheerios

I. Introduction

In recent years, biologists have been stunned by the explosive radiation of forms of the popular breakfast cereal, Cheerios. The sudden arrival of new varieties has offered strong support for a punctuated equilibrium model of breakfast cereal evolution. Cladistic analysis shows, however, that many previously accepted groups are, in fact, unnatural, and that many of the primitive forms have actually been mis-classified as derived groups. In this analysis, the Oatieo (Oatieosis tastelikecrapsis), generally accepted to be a more basal form, was used as the outgroup to the true Cheerio clade, the Cheeriotes. The Oatieo tends to have a coarser consistency than the more derived Cheerios, and its packaging tends toward a less complex version of the standard Cheerio box, It also, as its scientific nomenclature suggests, tastes like crap.

II. Findings

Here we will jump straight into the discussion of our findings, because no one cares about the methods section, and we made it all up anyway. One of the most provocative findings of this analysis has been the revelation of two polyphyletic taxons – namely, the so-called “Multi-Grain Cheerios,” and the “Team Cheerios” (a relatively recent discovery of cereal naturalists). The common oat form of cheerios (Cheeriosis cheeriosis), along with the corn (C. doritosis), rice (C. snapkracklepopsis), and wheat (C. notkosherforpassoveris) varieties, have historically been lumped together into one taxon, probably because they often share the same box. The “Multi-Grain Cheerios” is most likely a polyphyletic taxon, as the cladogram (See Fig. 1) clearly shows that the classic cheerio is a member of the Oatites, whereas the other members of the so-called “Multi-Grain” group are primitive members of the Cheeriotes. It is difficult, however to resolve the relationships between the more primitive of the Cheeriotes, due to their restricted availability for research. In the case of “Team Cheerios,” the corn and frosted (C. they’regrrrrrrrreatsis) varieties seem to be grouped with the exceedingly rare “brown-sugar” cheerio (C. rollingstonesis). For both of these unnatural groupings, the reason for different varieties sharing the same box is unclear, but there is some evidence to suggest that human encroachment into the Cheeriotes” habitat has forced some species into closer quarters. Another one our major findings is the true relationship of the Apple Jack (Jasksis Applensis). Many have suggested that it is closely related to the Apple Cinnamon Cheerio (C. Applensis), and that the two may even enjoy some kind of ancestral relationship with one another. We see here that this is not the case. The similarities between Apple Jacks and Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios are a cut and dried case of convergence. Both cereals have adapted to fill a specific niche in the breakfast cereal market, and have thus acquired many superficial similarities.

III. Conclusion

This is the end.