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Re: Audobon bird/dino article



Betty Cunningham wrote
>IN GENERAL: of special inetrest [...]

>2) the "chickadee-size enantiornithine from China"
        This is _Confuciusornis_. In their recent article, Hou, Zhou, Martin
and Feduccia refer _Confuciusornis_ to the Enantiornithines. In the absence
of a clear phylogenetic analysis using modern techniques(see my pervious
posting on this paper, reproduced on my web page), this should be taken with
a grain of salt.  I do not, however, know of any evidence that _C._ is not
an enantiornithine.

>3) a Jurassic ornithurine 
        This is_Liaoningornis_, which the authors of the above noted paper
referred to the sister group of the Enantiornithes. As Jeff Poling has
pointed out, the age for the Yixian Formation from whence come most of these
wonderful Chinese finds, is in dispute, and a Jurassic age is by no means
certain.

        As for it being an *"ornithurine"*, I was under the impression that
the taxon Ornithurae was defined as the most recent common ancestor of
_Hesperornis_, _Ichthyornis_, and Neornithes, and all of its descendants.
In that case, _Liaoningornis_ would *not* be an "ornithurine" bird, but a
member of the stem leading to Ornithurae.
        Comments?
        The size of the headache you get from the systematics of the
Theropoda is inversely proportional to the inclusivity of the clade you are
examining + Neornithes. As you approach Neornithes, your head explodes.
        Wagner
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jonathan R. Wagner                    Kaleidogram; n.                    |
| Department of Geosciences               A melange of branches, ones and  |
| Texas Tech University                   zeros caused by obsessive mani-  |
| Lubbock, TX 79409                       pulation of cladistic data.      |    
| *** wagner@ttu.edu *** Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f|
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------+