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Re: emu history

Nick Pharris wrote:

A slight wrinkle here. Based on mitochondrial DNA, Cooper et al. 2001 (Nature
409: 704-7) actually found Kiwis closer to emus/cassowaries than to moas.

I'd be very cautious about using the results of mitochondrial genomic studies to override anatomy-based phylogenies. I'm not saying that the analysis done by Cooper and friends is wrong. What I am saying is that that not all phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial DNA (including those based on COMPLETE mitochondrial genomes) are necessarily correct. Some mitochondrial-based phylogenetic analyses have produced some pretty wacked-out topologies - like putting passerines at the base of the Neornithes (Harlid et al., 1998). Phylogenetic analyses using complete mitochondrial genomes cannot always be relied upon to generate the 'correct' tree. Every dataset has its own intrinsic problems that throw a spanner in the phylogenetic works, and mitochondrial DNA is no exception.


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