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Re: RATITES AND BROODING
<<Yep. I can hardly wait for the more-thorough molecular data which will
nail down every bird's relation with every other without ambiguity (I'm
(Maniacal laughter ensues) Not kidding? Thanks, the best one I heard
in a while ;-) Anyway, as most people who keep track of avian
phylogenies throughout the years (from Linneus, to Illiger, to Huxley,
to Gadow-Furbringer-Beddard, to Wetmore, to Verheyen, to Wetmore
(again), to Cracraft, to Olson, to Sibley and Ahlquist (twice), to
Mindell and the various workers today) can tell you, there will probably
never, EVER, be an unambiguous avian phylogeny whether based on
molecules, morphology, whatever. While S&A's original stuff came out
there was lots of talk (OK, mostly from Sibley, but still) that we may
have finally come to the final avian phylogeny.
<<But that day is probably ten years off. Until then, I accept your
assessment that relationships are ambiguous enough for doubt. But,
especially with the ostrich in the mix, the case for basal wing-feather
brooding bears, at the least, some watching and consideration.
As I pointed out before, ratites have an apomorphic male parental care
system that is not found among many (if any) other bird groups. Anyway,
there is also little evidence to suggest that ratites are 'more basal'
than neognaths. Palaeognaths do not really come out as basal to the
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