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THEM EARLY BIRDS



<<A few questions--probably way off point, but I hope not.  Is it fair 
or not to infer from Qiang's statement that metacarpals II and III of 
_Changchengornis_ were fused proximally?>>

No.  I find that unless it is specifically noted, it is generally not a 
wise practice to make things that authors did or did not say as proof of 
assumptions.  

<<And at what point within the Metornithes does the fossil record begin 
to show fusion of the wrist and/or hand elements?>>

If only certain members of Metornithes had a carpometacarpus then the 
group could be considered as paraphyletic or the feature convergent.

<<And since _Mononykus_ (a member of the Alvarezsauridae) has a 
carpometacarpus (at least it looks like one to me), is it reasonable to 
consider the carpometacarpus as a basal character for the Metornithes?>>

Yes, assuming that alvarezsaurs are metornithine birds.  

<<If not, what are the members of Aves outside Metornithes that show 
fusion of bones in the wrist or hand?>>

Possibly Alvarezsauridae, assuming that Chiappe's recent, unpublished 
analysis is correct and/or Sereno's.

<<And if anyone knows of a published work that describes the osteology 
of the arm and/or hand of a Mesozoic member of the Avialae, I would be 
very interested in an off-list message containing the reference(s).>>

Well, ones that I find to be very helpful are Ostrom (1974, 1976ab, 
1985, 1986, 1994), Vasquez (1992, 1994), Paul (1987, 1988), anything by 
Wellnhofer (1974, 1993), Martin (1991) and Gauthier and Padian (1985).  
While the last of these does not deal directly with this, all of these 
are very good.  I can spend the specific ones.

Matt Troutman 
m_troutman@hotmail.com

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