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RE: Our current understanding of Mesozoic bird phylogeny



Tim Williams wrote-

Mickey Mortimer wrote:

|--Dromaeosauridae
|--Archaeopteryx
`--Ornithurae sensu Gauthier
  |--Shenzhouraptor
  `--Avebrevicauda
     |--Sapeornis
     `--Pygostylia
        |*-Lectavis

[snip]

Sanz et al. (1995), based on Chiappe (1993), conducted a phylogenetic analysis of enantiornitines based on pedal characters, with the topology (Lectavis,Yungavolucris (Concornis (Neuquenornis (Soroavisaurus, Avisaurus)))). This agrees with the present analysis except that Neuquenornis is an avisaurine instead of a concornithine.

You also regard_Lectavis_ as Pygostylia incertae sedis. Is there no character that can be used to refer _Lectavis_ to the Enantiornithes?

Good call, the position of Lectavis differed as well. Upon rerunning the analysis with a few modifications, Lectavis was back inside Enantiornithes, though barely. This is based on four characters- tibiotarsal distal condyles equal in anterior projection (absent in Sazavis; unknown in Aberratiodontus); plantar surface of metatarsus excavated (absent in Yungavolucris and Gobipteryx; also in Confuciusornis and Patagopteryx; unknown in Aberratiodontus); tubercle on midshaft of metatarsal II (also in Confuciusornis and Yanornis+Passer; unknown in Aberratiodontus); metatarsal IV much narrower than II and III (absent in Iberomesornis and Liaoningornis+Vorona).
As you can imagine, a position in Confuciusornithidae isn't many steps longer (as there are no ornithothoracine hindlimb characters known / included), nor is a position in basal Euornithes (especially since Lectavis has a hypotarsus, otherwise only present in euornithines).


Mickey Mortimer