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Re: New Cretaceous bird and other papers



> > I mean, 65 -- 83 Ma. Take the lower end
> > and you almost reach the earliest fossils; take the upper end and
> > Falconiformes is older than *Apsaravis*.
>
> Dunno why *Apsaravis* has to be the earliest member of its lineage...

Didn't say that. What I say is that with all those ghost lineages the LK
bird diversity may get bigger than today's if we don't watch out :-)

> The error margin is troubling, but I note that the entire thing is still
in
> the Cretaceous.

It touches the Paleogene. Just how big are the error margins of the error
margins? :-)

> > It has diagnostic characters of _crown group_ parrots and
> > _lorisiids_. It's a bit too good to be true.
>
> Pretty scientific statement there.

Were there so many fruit-bearing trees in the LK to feed such an astonishing
diversity of parrots?

> >         Speaking of phylogeny, parrots are nested _high_ in Neornithes.
> > Having a lorisiid in the LK drags the other two clades of crown group
> > parrots, the Eocene parrots, and at least Columbiformes with it --
that's
> > quite an impressive diversity!
>
> That's sort of my point here. Case in point -- we have *Polarornis*, an
> unquestionable loon, in the Maastrichtian. That alone drags the common
> ancestor of Charadriomorphae (which I believe includes parrots and
pigeons)
> into the Mesozoic with it. And Gaviiformes are nested *high* in the
> Charadriomorphae. This, as I read the cladogram, means that
> Phoenicopteriformes, Ciconiiformes, Pelecaniformes, Procellariformes, and
> Sphenisciformes were also present in the Cretaceous. Will we find a
> Cretaceous flamingo?
>
> The whole above statement assumes that the Charadriomorphae is a real
group,
> of course (in bird systematics, take nothing for granted).

Indeed. I posted 2 new molecular trees some months ago that find both
Ciconiiformes and Pelecaniformes pretty paraphyletic. They do predict
Cretaceous storks, though. Well, let's see what may yet come out of
Antarctica. I forgot the exact places where Procellariiformes and
Sphenisciformes sit and can't dig the paper up at the moment; in the absence
of *Ichthyornis* some gull analogon may not be a surprise ecologically.