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SOUTHERN ANSERIFORMS & NEW ish ARCHAEOPTERYX



Joao Simoes Lopes Filho sent this email some time ago - I meant to reply 
to it sooner, sorry. Joao asked...

> Is there some support for (Neo-)Gondwanan origin of Anseriformes( and
> probably Galloanserae) ?

Yes, phylogenetic studies certainly indicate that Anseriformes 
originated in the Southern Hemisphere as virtually all basal taxa are 
southern (Anhimidae and Anseranatidae). Anatids probably also 
originated in the south seeing as dendrocygnines (_Dendrocygna_ + 
_Thalassornis_), cnemiornithids, _Cereopsis_ and other basal taxa are 
southern (Livezey 1995, 1996). Worthy et al. (1997) argued that 
_Cereopsis_ and _Cnemiornis_ form a clade within Anserinae (Livezy 
always regards cnemiornithids as basal anatids I think - I don't have the 
papers to hand) but this doesn't affect the strong southern signal in the 
tree. Northern radiations of anatids, like _Anser_, _Branta_ and the 
_Olor_ group swans are therefore members of clades whose basal taxa 
are Southern. 

Cracraft has argued that Galliformes are also ancestrally southern - this 
would support a southern origin for Galloanserae - but the absence of 
any comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the galliforms means that 
this is untested (AFAIK).

There are a few fossils that might confuse this picture however. Olson's 
(1999) suggestion that _Anatalavis oxfordi_ is an anseranantid was 
discussed here recently (it has been contested by Dyke (2000 and in press)
 - if Olson is right then anseranatids are not endemic to the Southern 
Hemisphere. Feduccia (1996) mentions some supposed Northern 
records of anhimids - these are unpublished and unconfirmed AFAIK. 
_Presbyornis_, the sister-taxon to Anatidae within the Anatoidea (as 
per Livezey 1997), is a Northern Hemisphere taxon however 
(notwithstanding possible Antarctic records), so further study is 
required to determine whether anatoids actually originated in the North 
(in which case anatids may still have arisen in the South...), or if 
_Presbyornis_ represents a separate Northern invasion.

> What is the zoogeographical explanation of presence of Black Swan in
> Australia (Cygnus ater) and Black-necked Swan in South America (Cygnus
> melanocoryphus). And Brazilian "Coscoroba" (Coscoroba coscoroba)...is
> it a primitive swan?

_Coscoroba_ would appear to be the most basal swan. Among 
_Cygnus_, _atratus_ and _melanocoryphus_ are the most basal, and 
were found to be sister taxa by Livezey (1996) (he didn't code _C. 
sumnerensis_ but I think there is general agreement that this is closest 
to _C. atratus_). The _Olor_ swans would therefore appear to 
represent a Northern radiation of a clade that originated in the South.

I can dig out the refs if they're needed.

Oh yeah, new _Archaeopteryx_ (Vol. 18) has arrived. Includes the 
following...

Frey, E. and Tischlinger, H. 2000. Weichteilanatomie der 
Flugsaurierfusse und Bau der Scheitelkamme: Neue Pterosaurierfunde 
aus den Solnhofener Schichten (Bayern) under der Crato-Formation 
(Brasilian), pp. 1-16.

As it says. Lots of pretty pictures of the _Pterodactylus_ with the soft 
tissue head crest, new WWD-style tapajerids and the Crato Fm 
azhdarchid with the curved foot claws, scaly sole pad etc.

Videler, J. J. 2000. _Archaeopteryx_: a dinosaur running over water? 
pp. 27-34.

Videler suggests that _Archaeopteryx_ might have behaved like extant 
_Basiliscus_. No way, there are fundamental flaws in the reasoning. 
Suggests that the manual claws could have snapped up and down on 
the distal tip of the phalanx in a way that is anatomically impossible.

Naish, D. 2000. Theropod dinosaurs in the trees: a historical review of 
arboreal habits amongst nonavian theropods. pp. 35-41.

DARREN NAISH 
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road                           email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
Portsmouth UK                          tel (mobile): 0776 1372651     
P01 3QL                                tel (office): 023 92842244