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RE: Enantiornithines

Jean-Michel (Aegyptiacus@aol.com) wrote:

> I've been quite a while on this but I've always wondered about 
> enantiornithes. What characteristics make them "opposite" birds and 
> not "true" birds? 

As an addendum to Jaime's response, I would add: don't be suprised if future
analyses find the Enantiornithes (as currently defined) to be paraphyletic.
The recent description of _Apsaravis_ set the scene in this respect.  Many,
many species of Mesozoic Aves have been assigned to the Enantiornithes - and
some of the diagnostic characters advanced for this group (which have been
used to justify referral of said species to the Enantiornithes) are looking
more than a little shaky.  

> Were they volant?

Yes.  Interestingly, no flightess enantiornithines have so far been
described, AFAIK*.  This strikes me as strange (suspicious?), considering
how rampant secondary flightlessness is among non-enantiornithine Aves:
hesperornithiforms, patagopterygids, _Gargantuavis_, ratites, numerous 2F

*I'm removing the notion that _Caudipteryx_ is a flightless enantiornithine
from consideration (a la Feduccia's _The Origin and Evolution of Birds_),
since I've yet to encounter a paleontologist who takes this idea seriously.