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Mesozoic Birds (was Archaeopteryx and Flight)

>Unfortunately, I have not done the full analysis, and the preliminary
>version I did was years ago, based on the data in the first edition
>of "The Fossil Record".  Some of the identifications in there seem
>to have changed, at least so it seems from "Fossil Record 2".  I need
>to verify that someof the more derived groups are still attributed
>to the Cretaceous.  For instance is the Lancian form originally
>identified as a cormorant still so considered?  If so, that places
>considerable constraints on times of origin for various groups.

I wouldn't rely too much on the Fossil Record 2, since there have been many
advances in Mesozoic paleornithology in the last few years which couldn't
be incorporated in that volume.

In a recent talk, Alan Feduccia stated that no Mesozoic bird can now
confidently be assigned to any modern order.  From his analysis, it looks
like the radiation of Neornithes (= Aves of Gauthier 1986 = the most recent
common ancestor of all modern birds and all descendants of that ancestor)
is mostly a Cenozoic phenomenon.

A volume on Mesozoic Birds is in the works, so in a couple of years we
should have a better picture.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.                                   
Vertebrate Paleontologist in Exile                  Phone:      703-648-5280
U.S. Geological Survey                                FAX:      703-648-5420
Branch of Paleontology & Stratigraphy
MS 970 National Center
Reston, VA  22092