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Re: Archaeopteryx (rant)

Quoting Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>:

> >Well, to tell the truth, yeah, they all have a common ancestor, but it
> >wouldn't have been anything we would recognize as a "hoofed" mammal (after
> >all, it would be our ancestor as well!)
> You don't think hyraxes, perissodactyls, artiodactyls, cetaceans and 
> elephants could belong to a clade of mammals that excludes primates?  I 
> think they can.  Further, the common ancestor of the aforementioned 
> ungulates and "subungulates" probably would have had unguals that were 
> "hoof-like".  (I was using "hoofed" in a very general sense - the way 
> hyraxes and elephants are.)

I'm not sure what you mean.  I guess it's metaphysically possible for all 
those groups to belong to a clade exclusive of primates, but all recent 
molecular (though admittedly, AFAIK, not morphological) evidence indicates 
that primates, rodents, bats, hedgehogs, tigers, and perhaps anteaters and 
armadillos are all descended from their MRCA as well.

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan