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kmm's answer is great and complete; I just want to add some of my points on what kind of data should follow Gaussian distribution. Unless you know from observation that a process doesn't follow a Gaussian distribution (e.g., Poisson, binomial, etc.), then it probably does at least well enough for statistical purposes. I won't fault kmm for this ...


6

You raise two issues, both of which might be better suited for stats.SE, but I think the questions are suitably biological to warrant an answer here. Do most biological processes follow a Gaussian distribution? Unless you know from observation that a process doesn't follow a Gaussian distribution (e.g., Poisson, binomial, etc.), then it probably does at ...


2

From what I understand, the answer is; it depends. As you point out in the comment to Remi.b, contrasts are standardized by branch lengths (which are assumed to be proportional to "evolutionary time") before they are analysed (to obtain standardized independent contrasts). However, branch lengths can be come from a number of different sources (divergence ...



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