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Re: Kurochkin 2006 critique

Also, I'm not sure where Kurochkin has been in the last few decades,

Not in any place with English-language literature, apparently.

Both of these paragraphs illustrate a fallacy of Kurochkin's- that if a
structure is found to be homoplasious in two taxa, its homology in a third
taxon can be safely doubted.

An ordinary precladistic assumption, based on the failure to acknowledge the fact that...

no character is a priori immune to homoplasy.

Oddly, he says heterocoelous vertebrae cannot evolve
from opisthocoelous ones, though several enantiornithines have partial
heterocoely, as do some deinonychosaurs.

Which he doesn't know, not having enough English-language literature, I bet.

I can only quote Scrooge McDuck: "Money isn't everything! But without money everything is nothing!"

Even stranger, he seems to think birds' single oviduct couldn't evolve from
one of a theropod's two oviducts, but as far as I can tell amniotes primitively
have two oviducts.


Kurochkin's cladogram is-

Anything but a cladogram, of course. :-)



Discussing Archaeopteryx, Kurochkin correctly notes most of its birdlike characters have been found in other theropods, though many of his examples are subtly flawed. For instance, he states one such character is "the double-condyled quadrate (although it is single-condyled in Archaeopteryx and Enantiornithes, while in Ornithurae it is double-condyled)." In actuality, most coelurosaurs (including tyrannosaurids, caenagnathoids, troodontids and Archaeopteryx) have a surface on the quadrate which contacts the braincase. Most basal euornithines are similar, an in fact the only taxa with a distinct double-condyled morphology are Shuvuuia, Confuciusornis, Enaliornis and many neoavians.

Good to know.

(9) Digits IV and V of the manus are reduced.  Only absent in
ornithuromorphs according to Kurochkin due to his disbelief in the

Assuming a frameshift is even necessary -- I'm still waiting for evidence against the occurrence of a transient prepollex in bird embryos.

3. "the distal head of the femur has a lateral crest;"  Absent in
Archaeopteryx (Chiappe, 2002).

Distal head? What does that mean?