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Re: Bid tarsus
>I just finished Larry Martin et al's 1980 paper:
>Martin, L.D., J.D. Stewart, and K.N. Whetstone. 1980. The origin of birds:
> structure of the tarsus and teeth. Auk 97: 86-93.
Whetstone in particular has been pushing a crocodilian-bird common ancestor
theme for many years. In one paper that springs to mind, he compared the
ear regions of the two and found "striking similarities". The problem is
that, yes the two do share a common ancestor and so will show some common
features, but birds share a more recent common ancestor with dinosaurs.
Many of the features that you discussed in the original post are, to me,
really dubious. Tooth structure, for example, is highly variable in crocs.
Some crocs do have serrate teeth and many crocs do not have a constricted
base to the crown. The fact that these characters vary within crocs means
that they must be used with caution in phylogenetic analyses, particularly
outside of the crocodilia.
Dr Paul M.A. Willis
Consulting Vertebrate Palaeontologist
Quinkana Pty Ltd