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Re: Viva Neornithine Birds!

That is yet another question. Molecular dating argues against the idea that
*Polarornis* and *Neogaeornis* were loons --

Does it? Ericson et al. (2004) seems to at first glance, until you realize
they only included Tertiary taxa to calibrate their divergence dates. If
you ignore the Cretaceous neornithine fossils, of course the divergence
dates will come out as too late to incorporate them.

No, no, I'm talking about van Tuinen & Hedges (2004): when *Polarornis* and *Neogaeornis* are assumed to be either crown gaviids or stem gaviiforms and as such used to calibrate molecular dating, the results are patently absurd.

http://dml.cmnh.org/2004Dec/msg00048.html (scroll down to "Calibration with Cretaceous loons").