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Re: Our current understanding of Mesozoic bird phylogeny

David Marjanovic wrote-

As for Cuspirostrisornis-
[...] toothless maxilla

Really? You didn't show that in your Dinosauricon reconstruction. Is it visible in Hou's photo?

Hou mentions it in the description, which wasn't translated at the time I made my reconstruction. I'm guessing I assumed maxillary teeth to be present and they were too small to make out of dotted lines. Really my reconstructions of Hou's (2000) birds are hindered by optimistic placement of fragments and Hou's terrible illustrations.

What has become of the sternal keel that extends over the entire length (shared with *Neuquenornis* and Ornithurae sensu Gauthier & de Queiroz), and the very large claw on the 1st toe (shared with *Neuquenornis* and IIRC *Concornis*)?

I think the apparent sternal keel in the illustration is actually the sacrum. Hou notes "Dorsal to the
sternum there are extremely well preserved impressions of five to six dorsal vertebrae ... Posterior to the dorsals are at least seven sacral vertebrae basically composing a synsacrum. The centra are fused although their count is still discernible. A single unified synsacrum is rare among the Early Cretaceous taxa. There is a narrow ventral crest on the synsacrum and a relatively deep longitudinal groove lies laterally on the centra between the relatively expanded parapophyses."
It's possible the hallucial ungual is enlarged. There are other characters indicating it's more basal than Concornis and Neuquenornis though.


Ah, so we have a bird with bizarre dentition (for bird measures) lurking around the origin of Ornithothoraces and biting you with its caniniforms if you get too close. I hope the next specimen will not be split through all bones.

I hope the holotype is described decently. The main important features noted by the authors (prefrontal, postorbital-jugal contact) are probably not real. Same goes for Dalingheornis and it's supposed heterodactly. Then there's Dapingfangornis and it's supposed horn. Ughh... what an annoying trend.

Ornithothoraces is only supported by the following, as far as this matrix goes- [...]

You still have 11 characters in that list. Is that the longest branch in your tree?

Nope. Pygostylia, Ornithurae sensu Gauthier, Ornithuromorpha, Apsaravis+Passer, Ornithurae sensu Chiappe, Carinatae, Neornithes and Neognathae are longer, as far as internal nodes go.

Mickey Mortimer