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PROBLEMATIC DUCKS



On Sibley and Ahlquist's comments concerning weird ducks and other 
problematic taxa, Matt Troutman asked...

> Certainly you aren't talking about _Anseranas_, which I believe they 
> found to be allied with screamers.  I could be wrong, though.  

Yes, Sibley and Ahlquist allied the magpie goose with the screamers 
(as Anhimoidea if memory serves): Mourer-Chauvire and Feduccia have 
(independently) done likewise. I strongly disagree with this 
proposal. The aberrant anseriform I was referring to (i.e., a taxon 
often said to 'have no close relatives') was actually _Stictonetta_. 
Sibley and Ahlquist (1990) found it to be the sister to anserines + 
anatines, whereas of course Olson and Feduccia, among others, have 
regarded it as one of the most basal of all anseriforms. I believe 
Jonsgard specifically states that _Stictonetta_ 'has no close 
relatives'. 

Cladistic studies of anseriforms find _Stictonetta_ to be an anatid, 
and specifically the sister to the tadornine + anatine clade. For in 
depth discussion see Livezey (1996): Phylogenetic reassessment of the 
tadornine-anatine divergence. Don't have the ref with me.

"Kill them. Kill them all"

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk