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RE: No Cretaceous placental mammals?

K and T Dykes writes:
"Unless I've been dating that attractive Miss Informed again, the last I
heard was that the unambiguous Cretaceous fossil record for the 28? (or
something like that) extant feathery fraternal orders, was closely
comparable to the weight of seagull droppings on my car.  As I haven't got a
car, that would be less than one.

Then again, I think the most recent thing I happened to read on such
mammal-birdy matters was Benton MJ (1999), Early origins of modern birds and
mammals, molecules vs. morphology, BioEssays, 21, p.1043-1051.  Perhaps
details of the landscape might've changed over the past eight years, but I'd
be surprised to find an impressive nesting colony of such cases has
accumulated.  Still, a bit old or not, the paper's at least easily
accessible on-line."

This is very out of date.  While it is true that the fossil evidence for
extant bird orders is largely fragmentary, the situation is not as bad as
you suggest.  Read Sylvia Hope's chapter in "Mesozoic Birds" for a good
overview.  Chiappe's "Glorified Dinosaurs" summarizes some of this
information.  And by all means, google search "Vegavis."  

Dino Guy Ralph
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
Dinosaur and Fossil Education
Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology