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Dear DML listmembers, I'd like to know a couple of things : are the early
tertiary "thunder-birds" ( eg *phororhaschus* ) related to ratites? And
when did the ratites branch off from the original bird lineage? Is there
any tree showing the relationships between these birds,the ratites and
Thanks in advance for the answers
*Phororaschus* is not early tertiary, it lived in Pliocene South america
along with the other phororaschid predatory ground birds. Most of these
became extinct in the great faunal interchange co-incident with the
formation of the Panama land bridge between north and south america.
Phorosraschids were bnot related to ratites, I think they were Gruiformes
(cranes and rails). One of the phororaschids didn't go extinct in the G.F.I,
but migrated into north america and was probably killed by humans in the
late Pleistocene (overkill) extinction (about 12000 YBP). This was
*Titanis*, about 3 metres high, and very interesting because its highly
derived wings had claws and were similar to theropod arms. There were other
large ground predatory birds that WERE early tertiary, and these lived in
europe, but I am not sure of their phylogenetic position. The third group
was the bullokornids of Plio/Pleistocene Australia, again probably made
extinct through early human action (eg *Bullokornis planei*).
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