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Re: Archaeopteryx (rant)

>From another thread: the nuchal ring as an ankylosaur half-ring sounds 
very plausible. 
> Are these the same molecular studies that showed elephants and golden 
> moles to be closely related? 
Yes. All of them. -- The one synapomorphy of Afrotheria that I've seen in 
writing is a unique 9-bp-deletion... somewhere, of course I forgot where. 
-- Why should the above be weirder than finding shrews, whales and rhinos 
"closely related" to a similar degree? 
> As per my previous post, I'll take fossil data over DNA data every day  
> of the week (and twice on Sundays). 
Unlike the situation with whales, here there are practically no fossils. 
And every time a new Eocene hyrax comes out, hyraxes and perissodactyls 
look more different than before (despite the name *Hyracotherium*... :-) 
). Even some old-fashioned dental similarities between Macroscelidea and 
Proboscidea have been found; search the archives for *Nementchatherium*. 
And of course the paleobiogeography largely fits (significant isolation of 
Africa before the Miocene). So I do think Afrotheria has good chances of 
being found by morphological data. 
I also think it's interesting that the molecular phylogenies of 
Placentalia are all so similar. The differences are pretty small, e. g. 
whether Perissodactyla is the sistergroup of Cetartiodactyla or of Ferae ( 
= Carnivora + Pholidota), one of which is its 2nd outgroup anyway. -- To 
stay in this example, it seems to me that paleontology hasn't got very far 
in this either yet; the *Artiocetus* paper found various "mesonychids" as 
sistergroups of Cetartiodactyla, followed by Arctocyonia, followed by 
nothing. It wasn't a complete placental, "condylarth" or whatever 

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