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SANDCOLEIFORMES &... BATS
Ahh, the lovely little Sandcoleiformes, my favourite birds of them
all. Ron Orenstein asked...
> I am not familiar with the Sancoleiformes - a
> fossil taxon, I presume?
And, in response, Matt Troutman replied..
> They're described in _Papers in Avian Paleontology_ by Peter Houde
> and Storrs Olson. There are 4 definite species: Sandcoleus,
> Anneavis, Eobucco, and Chascacocolius; and two possible species:
> Uintornis and Botauroides.
(Matt means genera of course). Truth is, no one knows what the
sandcoleiforms were. If you read the paper you will find no diagnosis
of the group whatsoever: merely that they are not Coliiforms, not
Piciformes, not Caprimulgiformes etc. etc. etc. Some real basic
diagnoses of clades and testing of traditional monophyletic groups is
needed before any understanding of neornithine higher-level phylogeny
can get underway. Luckily, there are now quite a few workers
addressing these problems.
BATS REVISITED - ARE MICROCHIROPTERANS DIPHYLETIC??
I'll save myself flames from all you mammal haters out there and
mention this briefly here. Matt recently asked about the diphyly that
has been proposed for Chiroptera - a few workers have argued that
megabats are archontans related to dermopterans and primates, while
microbats are, well, who knows? A new spin on all this is Hutcheon et
al. (1998), a paper I've just seen in _Phil. Trans. B_ (if I
remember correctly) where it is proposed that MICROCHIROPTERA is
diphyletic. Based on molecular data (I haven't read the paper yet),
the authors found that there was evidence for a monophyletic clade of
rhinolophoids (horseshoe bats) + megachiropterans! Primates were the
sister group, and other microchiropterans (emballonuroids,
mollossids, verpertilionoids.. yada yada.. the words trip off the
tongue) did form a monophyletic clade. A new spin indeed.
BTW, my recent claim that a monophyletic Pelycosauria has been used
in print was an error I think. Instead, it seems I was thinking of
"All you know is what you don't"