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Re: Protopenguins and pterosaurs
Mickey Mortimer wrote:
I was surprised to see just how poorly Waimanu was supported as a penguin-
"Waimanu is closer to penguins than to any other bird group in the
following combination of characters: some thoracic vertebrae are not
heterocoelous; synsacrum has 11-12 ankylozed vertebrae; hypotarsal crests
and grooves of the tarsometatarsus are not well-developed (but medial
hypotarsal crest is distinct)."
Those look like three plesiomorphic states to me.
The plotopterids are mentioned a few times in the text. These were
flightless, wing-propelled diving birds that were strikingly similar to
penguins; they are usually allied with pelecaniforms with the morphological
similarities to penguins attributed to convergence (as argued by Olson).
However, there's no mention in the text of Mayr's (2004) hypothesis that
penguins and plotopterids might actually be closely related (sister taxa).
It would be interesting to have plotopterids in the same morphological
analysis as penguins and _Waimanu_.