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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 
not kidding).>>

(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.
    Tom Hopp>>

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 
neognaths.  

Matt Troutman 
m_troutman@hotmail.com

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