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Re: GREBE AFFINITIES
<<Sibley and Ahlquist were inordinately fond of using this phrase (i.e.
'they have no close living relatives'). They used it for coliiforms,
for parrots, for grebes, for some aberrant anseriforms, for cuckoos...
In the literature you will read the same thing being said for other
unusual taxa, e.g. _Neofelis_ (the clouded leopard).>>
As with trogons, turnicids, piciforms, what else am I forgetting?
Certainly you aren't talking about _Anseranas_, which I believe they
found to be allied with screamers. I could be wrong, though.
<<FACT IS - - if (a) you accept the evidence for organic evolution, and
(b) you therefore think that all organisms are related to each other by
way of descent, how on earth can any organism _not_ have a close
relative???!! (Of course, 'closeness' is usually objective - molecular
clocks notwithstanding!). In other words, grebes, or clouded leopards,
or bizarre Australian ducks, or whatever, *must* be more closely related
to some other sort of animal that they are to all the others. Thus it is
false to state that any taxon 'has no close relatives'.>>
I can't agree more. I particulary like S&A's explanation of the trogon
relations, which went something like:
"We therefore conclude that trogons have no close living relatives
although they are probably closest to the Coraciomorphae (or was it
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