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Re: Metaves and Coronaves

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher Taylor" <ck.taylor@auckland.ac.nz>
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2004 1:25 AM

As shown in Mickey's tree [...]
relationships within the clades are mostly unresolved. It's good to see that
those few that are supported are mostly pretty uncontroversial. The only
exceptions I can spot are the inclusion of Turnicidae among the
Charadriiformes, the failure to resolve Glareolidae as monophyletic
(coursers appear in the tree twice), and the association of Bucerotidae and
Trogonidae (not controversial except in the sense that trogons have never
really been accepted as sitting _anywhere_). Does anyone know if a list is
available anywhere of the exact species used?

Yes, in the supplementary information, the DOI URL of which is given in the article. It leads to http://evol.allenpress.com/archive/0014-3820/058/11/supinfo/10.1554_04-235.1.s1.doc which contains the entire alignments. But nowhere is there any indication of _which_ members of Glareolidae and which members of Charadriidae (found to be paraphyletic) have ended up where! :-(

The association of the 'Metaves' taxa (which include also include
Phaethontidae - Mickey seems to have accidentally left them out) is
definitely weird, but perhaps not so unacceptable as it might appear. As the
authors point out, the problem isn't really that relationships between these
taxa have been rejected in the past, they've mostly just never been
considered. Apodiformes and Caprimulgiformes have generally been considered
as related, and they're both Metaves, as have Columbidae and Pteroclidae.
Those relationships which _have_ been broken up - _Opisthocomus_ and
Cuculidae, Phoenicopteridae and "Ciconiiformes", the "Gruiformes", and
Caprimulgiformes and Strigiformes, were arguably not that well-established
in the first place.

IMHO it's interesting that the hoatzin and the seriemas have been considered close relatives. In the new tree, the hoatzin sits at the base of Metaves, while the seriemas are at the base of a low-bootstrap clade that also includes bustards, "higher waterbirds", cuckoos and turacos.
What was so bad about "Caprimulgiformes" + Strigiformes?
(And isn't Pteroclididae the spelling?)

The only significant omission I can see is _Leptosomus_, the cuckoo roller,

Oh yes! It does, however, illustrate another of Fain & Houde's points: that many bird clades which today look like relicts from (Outer) Gondwana had a pantropical distribution in the Paleogene. The only known leptosomid besides *L.* itself, which is endemic to Madagascar, comes from Messel (Mayr & whoever, less than 2 years ago IIRC).