From: <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: Re: African neognaths Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 08:41:31 +0100
Re: your hypothesis about African endemism of certain neognaths groups, you might be right.. have you seen Cracraft's recent paper:
Cracraft, J. 2001. Avian evolution, Gondwana biogeography and the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event. _Proc. Royal Society London B_ 268, 459-469.
You say shoebills have never been found outside of Africa. However there are a few (questionable) English Eocene records of this group. You might be interested to know that Rasmussen et al have postulated the giant Fayum _Eremopezus_ as a possible shoebill relative. Here's what I wrote about it on the DML a while back...
------------------ Rasmussen, D. T., Simons, E. L., Hertel, F. and Judd, A. 2001. Hindlimb of a giant terrestrial bird from the upper Eocene, Fayum, Egypt. pp. 325-337.
Wow. _Eremopezus_ Andrews 1904 has been traditionally regarded as an aepyornithid (even though little evidence links any supposed African aepyornithid with _Aepyornis_ - this issue fully discussed in the paper) but the new material described here shows that it's something else. While larger than _Rhea_, it was not graviportal, nor as cursorial as ostriches or rheas. The size and proportions of the trochleae indicate fairly prehensile toes most like those of _Balaeniceps_ and _Sagittarius_ so it's regarded as a giant ?predator/omnivore, perhaps analogous with some phorusrhacoids. Rasmussen et al. conclude that _Eremopezus_ wasn't a ratite, but that it belonged to an endemic African clade of uncertain affinities. --------------------
Parrots: vasa parrokeets are very odd, but it's not sure that they are the most basal living psittaciforms as you state. Unpublished DNA evidence shows that Australasian parrots are monophyletic and diverged very early on in parrot history from the other groups. Regarding early parrots, you ignore _Pulchrapollia_ from Eocene England (though whether it's a parrot is now being questioned).
I agree with you regarding hornbills and hoopoes: evidence indicates that they are probably African.