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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 method.

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.


Cheers,

--Mike H.


Michael Habib, M.S. PhD. Candidate Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1830 E. Monument Street Baltimore, MD 21205 (443) 280 0181 habib@jhmi.edu