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Re: Livezey and Zusi's big bird morph analysis [...]
Yes, but the evidence for penguin-plotopterid convergence was never
strong. AFAIK, Mayr's analysis is the only one that actually tested
penguin-plotopterid relationships using a parsimony-based phylogenetic
Granted, Mayr's analysis is, in a sense, the strongest by default.
However, I do think there is substantial reason to suspect that the
similarities are convergent. I disagree that the evidence is weak.
The catch, of course, is that no one else has yet sat down to do an
expanded parsimony-based analysis. I suspect that when plotopterids
are added into larger analyses (such as the Livezey and Zusi matrix),
they will not fall with penguins (assuming that the characters used are
not heavily weighted towards forelimb structure). But maybe I'll be
surprised, and that would be quite interesting.
Michael Habib, M.S.
Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
1830 E. Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(443) 280 0181