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Re: fossil bird books

Michael Mortimer wrote:

Unfortunately, the Cenozoic bird data included is just as outdated and phylogenetically unsupported as the BAND section is. Though I don't own the book, I recall it supports such things as...
- polyphyletic ratites, each derived from various neognaths.
- Anseriformes and Phoenicopteriformes being sister taxa.
- Presbyornis being at the base of the above assemblage.
- Psittaciformes being derived from columbiformes.
While there's no better book on Cenozoic birds out there, I'd suggest just getting a lot of Mayr, Dyke and Livezey papers instead.

I'll second that! There's lots of great Cenozoic bird papers out there, including descriptions of those spectacular and enormously helpful finds from the Messel. For example, Mayr's recent paper in JVP describes _Messelastur_, a possible link between owls (Strigiformes) and diurnal birds of prey (Falconiformes). We may yet unravel the mysteries of neornithine evolution...

Chris Glen wrote:

The debate became more heated after the mid 1980's (see book 10 below), and by the 1990's had reach full steam, opponents saying some terrible things about the each other and their work both in scientific and non scientific publications. It was during the 1990's that the chinese 'dinobird fossils' where discovered which added heat to the debate.

These Chinese 'dinobird fossils' added more light than heat to the debate. The principal reason why the debate has become so heated lately is because opponents of a theropod origin of birds (Feduccia, &c) have had to come up with ever-more exotic explanations to account for these discoveries. The latest is the 'birds are maniraptorans, but maniraptorans are not theropods' idea, which simply beggars belief.

A lot of the background above is covered in this book, and Pat Shipman has done a great job in covering the topic.

I have Pat Shipman's book (softcover, excellent condition) if anybody wants a copy (for the price of postage).