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>In a message dated 98-08-02 13:59:30 EDT, cbrochu@fmppr.fmnh.org writes:
><< At present, the phylogenetic pattern recovered by multiple independent
> analyses over the past decade does not support secondary flightlessness.
> Secondary flightlessness is an additional assumption placed on the pattern
> a posteriori.  Is it a bad assumption?  Not necessarily - but it is
> secondary, and hence not parsimonious. >>
>Actually, secondary flightlessness is the simplest and most parsimonous way to
>describe the relationship between birds and theropod dinosaurs.

[List of features snipped]

Actually, this is precisely the thing that makes BCF an "umbrella
hypothesis."  Given the weight of *all available evidence*, BCF is not the
simplest explanation; but given a few transformations that might seem
problematic in isolation, BCF seems outwardly to fare better.


Christopher Brochu

Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
Lake Shore Drive at Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL  60605  USA

phone:  312-922-9410, ext. 469
fax:  312-922-9566