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RE: Avian origins - the case of the "60 millions"
I just stumbled across a hint where the "60 Ma" figure
might come from. Such a date seems to have been
around... a quarter of a century ago. Briefly,
Olson/Feduccia's short-lived counter-proposals to
Galloanseres seem to imply this... they proposed for
some time a Late Cretaceous _Gansus_-like bird
evolving into "graculavids". Check out Raikow's review
(You may want to cover the top of the second page.
Creationism is at least good for a cheap laugh every
now and then... this here diagram is definitely
It is a nice snapshot of the cladistic Paleolithic,
when analyses were as precise as heart surgery with an
Olduwan chopper. Much of Raikow's issues are now known
to be precisely to the point. Some is absolute
rubbish, but there too, in retrospect, one can say
*why* he was led astray.
His remarks on Anhimidae seem essentially forgotten (I
think - they are hinted at in a throwaway line only in
HBW 1, at the publication of which the Galloanseres
were not yet widely accepted). Any modern student of
the Galloanseres can do worse than to think them over
in the face of the present state of knowledge.
[*] The reason why there are no grebes in the diagram
is ultimately the very reason why the Mirandornithes
were not discovered earlier: grebes did not occur
anywhere in the hypothesis on flamingos' relationships
that for over 20 years overshadowed the debate.
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