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>The 'flamingoes are derived recurvirostrids' case is better than this 
>because it is supported by derived characters (see Olson and 
>Feduccia) and the presence of primitive fossil phoenicopteriformes 
>(like Messel _Juncitarsus_) that are also very like recurvirostrids. 

Actually I should have been more specific and said recurvirostrids 
instead of stilts (or avocets).  I meant recurvirostrids (even though 
they are the same as avocets and stilts).

Regardless, stilts (actually all Charadriiformes) are similiar to 
phoenicopteriformes.  The closest group is the Recurvirostridae and the 
single closest genus is the Australian banded stilt, _Cladorhynchus 
leucocephalus_, which is extremely similiar in osteology, ecology, 
feather anatomy, behavior and life history.  And lets not forget 
Palaelodidae, which are thought to have split off from the flamingo 
common ancestor about the same time as _Juncitarsus_. 

>I think he was seeing primitive characters.. what do you think? 
>Remember that galliforms are thought to outgroup to the Neoaves >and 
thus apparently preserve characters otherwise seen only in  

Well, I think that he was probably right.  The acrocoracoid is identical 
in the two groups of birds (in its curved internal side and lack of 
pnematic foramina; and from ventral view, the small ledge).  As well as 
the rest of the coracoid with the small procoracoid, flattened shaft, 
etc.  And the incised sternum.  These features are not seen the same way 
in lithornithids and are certainly (and understandably) absent in 

Matt Troutman

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