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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 
Bucertomorphae?)" 

Matt Troutman 
m_troutman@hotmail.com

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