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Re: Oryctos Is Back

----- Original Message -----
From: "evelyn sobielski" <koreke77@yahoo.de>
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 3:54 PM

Of course several of these "bird-like" theropod lineages are liable to form a clade. But which, and how do they tie together? Are Neornithes closer to Enantiornithes than either is to Archie? What did the _Dalianraptor_, _Shenzhouraptor_, ... lineages evolve into, if they evolved into anything? Is _Rahonavis_ functionally (but not phylogenetically) an Archie redux? Where did _Sapeornis_ come from? Essentially, would the real Aves please fly up?

All of these questions are currently best answered by "Good question! Next question?" -- except one: Neornithes and Enantiornithes are clearly much closer to each other than to Archie. Supporting evidence can be found in the shortened tail and pygostyle, the reduced 3rd finger, the flange on the 2nd finger for firmer wing feather attachment, the alula, the carpometacarpus, the joint between scapula and coracoid, and numerous other AFAIK mostly flight-related characters; consult any phylogenetic analysis ever done on the problem. Contradictory evidence (keywords: Saururae, Sauriurae) can only be seen by BANDits; BAD people are somehow blind to it... ;-)

*Sapeornis* is fairly clearly the sister-group of the misnamed Pygostylia (see the simplified tree below for where that name applies), but it has evidently undergone its own specialization, leading to a couple of convergences with Ornithothoraces.