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Re: Avian origins: new analysis confirms ancient beginnings

--- Ronald Orenstein <ron.orenstein@rogers.com>

> I think the paper is referring to the origin of
> modern bird lineages (ie the earliest date that any
> existing neornithine orders split from each other)
> rather than the origin of all birds including
> extinct lineages -- so Archie, Enantiornithes,
> Hesperornithiformes etc are not included.  As such
> its suggestion that the living lineages separated at
> an earlier date than fossil evidence shows is indeed
> new.

Only if you consider 2001/2002 data "new". The 2003
dispute between Feduccia and van Tuinen et al
essentially drew the line in the sand, and van Tuinen
et al's position has come out the winner since then.
Their article here
is all the more lucid for its briefness. And nearly
half a decade ago (which seems like an eternity in
avian phylogeny and evolution studies) they quite
confidently could state:

"Molecular, morphological and fossil data all indicate
that the early history of modern birds began in the
Cretaceous and did not involve 'transitional



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