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"Did parrots exist in the Cretaceous period?"



Gareth  Dyke has an interesting article in this week's Nature
(Nature 399, 317 - 318 (1999) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.) .
  
"Did parrots exist in the Cretaceous period?"

> The timing of the origin of modern birds is much debated. The 
> traditional view, based largely on the fossil record, suggests that most 
> modern groups did not appear until the Tertiary, after the end-Cretaceous 
> extinction event, but recent work, based on molecular divergence data, 
> has suggested that most, or all, of the major clades were present in the 
> Cretaceous. Verification of the latter proposal awaits the discovery of 
> modern bird fossils in the Mesozoic which can be confirmed on the basis 
> of the derived features characterizing the major clades.

> We do not consider that the recent description4 of an avian dentary 
> symphysis of a supposed psittaciform (parrot-like) bird from the 
> Cretaceous Lance Formation of North America represents such a record.
<SNIP>

There is also a reply by Thomas Stidham.

Mary
mkirkaldy@aol.com