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AW: Qinornis (was Re: Cenozoic dino)




> In a publication entitled "Europeâs last Mesozoic bird",
> Dyke et al. (2002; Naturwissenschaften 89:408â411)
> reported an unnamed non-neornithean bird from the latest
> Cretaceous (Maastricht Formation) of Belgium. It was a
> large bird, apparently closely related to _Ichthyornis_.

This paper is available here: http://www.ucd.ie/zoology/DYKE/Dykeetal2002.pdf

> Also, based on Sylvia Hope's work, it's my understanding
> that a large number of Late Cretaceous and/or early
> Paleocene "shorebirds" (e.g., "graculavids", _Volgavis_)
> have been referred to modern orders (especially
> Charadriiformes) on less-than-compelling grounds. Many
> of the derived neornithean & charadriiform-like
> characters actually have a wider distribution in Neornithes,
> and may be associated with a seabird or shorebird
> ecology. Given their retention of many plesiomorphic
> characters, these birds might actually be stem
> neornitheans.

Since the only thesis opportunity I could get a hold of was phylogeny of 
_Cryptomonas_, I won't be looking into this anytime soon. But I suspect that 
many of these taxa are suitable to cladistic analysis despite the small 
hypodigm, and I also suspect that at least most "graculavids" are crown 
Neornithes, even crown Neoaves. 

Whether the diversification of charadriiforms and "higher waterbirds" occurred 
shortly before or as a result of the end of the Mesozoic is the interesting 
question. For example, the grebe-flamingo split fits the bill as nicely as this 
can be said without fossil-based quantitative analysis.

The charm of Mayr's book is that he discusses all those fragmentary fossils 
which are in need of restudy.

BTW you might be able to get the book digitally; it's by Springer and some 
universities have access to their ebooks. 

It is very much worth the money though, as Mayr does a good job of integrating 
the molecular data with the fossil record and its biogeography. Hope (2002) was 
an effort long overdue, but Mayr (2009) is probably the first major work (at 
least in "theropodology") that integrates *all* available lines of evidence.


Regards,

Eike