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Re: Shaking up the bird family tree

On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 5:41 PM, T. Michael Keesey <keesey@gmail.com> wrote:

> (Not quite the best analogy, but I'm having trouble thinking of a good one.)

Yeah, I was at a loss to think of a big, chunky animal fairly close to
bats, so I went with the exaggerated version for effect.

> Yeah, given the many independent occurrences of flightlessness among
> avialans, it seems more likely to me that, if their topology is
> correct, flight was lost three times among palaeognathes: once in
> stem-ostriches, once in stem-rheas, and once in the Apteryx-casuariid
> stem group. Maybe more, depending on where the extinct flightless
> clades go. (Who knows, though?)

A lot of wonky convergence/biogeography going on with these critters,
it would seem. I'm no expert, but this whole group strikes me as
having a pretty confounding evolutionary history.

> No argument there.

I guess that's sort of a truism about the media in general, but
apparently the paper actually proposes such a thing - the quote was,
in fact, faithful to the study. (as was pointed out, below)


Sorry, that was me banging my head against the keyboard.

> Incidentally, I note that this topology poses a problem for Gauthier
> and de Queiroz' (2001) definitions of _Ratitae_ and _Tinamidae_ (both
> branch-modified node-based definitions). The former becomes restricted
> to _Struthio camelus_ (or possibly smaller, if the species is more
> inclusive than the crown group), and the latter now includes rheas,
> kiwis, cassowaries, emus, moas, etc.! Seems like a good spot for an
> unrestricted emendation or two.

Heh, I should say so.

On Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM,  <gerarus@westnet.com.au> wrote:

> No, I'm afraid the "flighted from flightless" line is in the original
> paper. Sigh.

*stares blankly*

Here, I'll help you sigh.


Maybe if enough people sigh at the same time, someone will notice.
Yes, the Great Sighmultaneous Sigh-In to protest sigh-worthy
sighentific conclusions.

Ah well. At least the article wasn't to blame for once.