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A new paper on swelled-headed, stump-tailed, flying mutants...



...or as they are better known as, neornithine birds:

van Tuinen, M., C.G. Sibley & S.B. Hedges.  2000.  The early history of
modern birds inferred from DNA sequences of nuclear and mitochondrial
ribosomal genes.  Molecular Biology & Evolution 17: 451-457.

Unlike a number of recent molecular phylogenies of birds, this one (with
some really good taxon sampling) supports something very close to the
morphological trees:
Tinamous are the sister group to the ratites, within Palaeognathae;
A monophyletic Neognathae comprised of Galloanserae (chickens & ducks, aka
"the tasty birds") and Neoaves (everything else, with a number of extremely
short branches at the base).

By inference of the basal members of each of the living lineages, the
ancestral neornithine was a large-bodied, ground-dwelling, nonmarine bird.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843