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Re: Secondarily Flightless Question



> When running a cladogram (pretty extensive),
> do terror birds fall out as birds?

Depends on your choices of taxa and characters. If the taxa you include
besides terror birds and, say, a pigeon and a duck are *Neuquenornis*,
tyrannosaurs, carnotaurines and alvarezsaurs, and if you don't bias your
small matrix heavily towards neornithine synapomorphies, I think they'll
probably still come out as the sister group of Ornithothoraces, but not as
secondarily flightless.
        Of course, you won't make such a stupid choice of taxa. The argument
of many of those that advocate secondary flightlessness in, say,
dromaeosaurs and oviraptorosaurs is, however, that we know so few fossils of
important taxa that our cladograms look a lot like my example. This is a
largely testable idea -- if the Czerkas et al. interpretation of
*Cryptovolans* is correct, for example, then it is strong evidence for such
a scenario.