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Re: Birds of Russia and Mongolia

Mickey_Mortimer wrote:

(Thanks for the info Mickey!)

His phylogeny of enantiornithines is hard to decipher. He seems to >have two orders- the Alexornithiformes and Euornithiformes. The >former includes the Alexornithidae (Alexornis, Gobipteryx, >Kizylkumavis, Lenesornis, Nanantius, Neuquenornis, Sazavis, >Zhyraornis), Avisauridae (Avisaurus, Enantiornis, Soroavisaurus) and >Enantiornithidae (Gurilynia).

I enjoy reading Kurochkin's descriptions of Mesozoic birds, but I find his taxonomy downright perplexing. An Enantiornithidae without _Enantiornis_? And I don't know what the story is behind
"Euornithiformes", but Kurochkin has used it a lot.

The diagnoses for the groups are fairly extensive, although nearly all >taxa are too fragmentary to be assigned to a group based on more than >one character.

...and the description of _Apsaravis_ may put a new spin on many of these "enantiornithine" characters.

Ambiortus Kurochkin 1982
A. dementjevi Kurochkin 1982
Holotype- (PIN 3790-271, PIN 3790-272) cervical vertebrae, scapula, >coracoid, partial sternum, furcular ends, proximal humerus, partial >radius, partial ulna, carpometacarpus, phalanx II-1, phalanx II-2, >manual ungual II
Comments- The heterocoelous cervicals and normal scapulocoracoid >articulation place this species in the Euornithes. The flattened >manual phalanx II-1 shows it is ornithurine.

When Kurochkin says "phalanx II-1", does he mean the middle digit or the innermost digit of the tridactyl manus? Is it digit II of I-II-III from the ancestral pentadactyl condition (as dinosaur experts interpret the avian tridactyl manus), or digit II of II-III-IV (as ornithologists prefer)?



Timothy J. Williams

USDA/ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163

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