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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
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.)
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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