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Re: Platypuses may be older than we think...



> Not that I'm in a position to sensibly offer advice
> on conducting
> phylogenetic analyses, but I'd strongly advise
> against including that one
> regardless.

It might be testable whether it would do more good
than harm by scoring all scorable characters and only
these in the fragments as well as in a wide range of
ecomorphologically diverse taxa with known (or
robustly suspected) phylogenies, including possible
relatives and probable non-relatives.

This was done with _Piksi barbarulna_ (one elbow,
essentially) and it turned out that few if any
characters of that fragment were phylogenetically
informative: the only relationships found in that
study were of ecomorphology, not phylogeny (apart from
confirming that _Piksi_ was indeed avian ;-) ). So in
that case, phylogenetic analysis of _Piksi_ would
needs more material to yield reliable results, but it
is well possible to infer its wing shape and habits
rather robustly given the hypodigm.

(Mickey's analysis suggests _Piksi_ was not
neornithine, but it does not appear one can go beyond
that. Not without a good sample of mid-sized
round-winged cursorial Enantiornithes at least.)


Eike

PS: This technique - perhaps even deliberately scoring
homoplasies - might be useful in inferring ecology and
habits e.g. from limb bone fragments.


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