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Re: Dinosaurs Lived with Protoratites and Primates



> > We infer flight to
> >Â have been lost among ratites multiple times in
> temporally close
> >Â association with the CretaceousÃïï Tertiary
> extinction event.
> 
> Fascinating. Utterly fascinating.

Well, the fossil record is quite straightforward that this did indeed happen... 
in Galloanseres ;-)

"Ratites"? Well, the last flying "ratites" almost mnade it to the Oligocene... 
then again, there are _Eleutherornis_ and _Diogenornis_, but these (though 
early Pg) warrant restudy. A phylogenetic analysis of these, plus the more 
abundant material of Paleogene Galloanseres, plus some other "detractors" 
(_Ermeopezus_ that odd critter comes to mind), plus the somewhat 
less-than-inadequate rheid and casuariid material, plus lithornithids and crown 
paleognaths, is likely to yield some very interesting insights.

The case for "ratites" being paraphyletic is fairly good now though. 
Unfortunately, though eggshell structure seems to be very similar between rheas 
and tinamous, this may just as well be symplesiomorphic: Vickers-Rich did sone 
cladistic work early in her mihirung studies, but though the ratite tree was 
not bad at all as regards internal resolution, it rooted in Galliformes IIRC... 
of course, back then they didn't know that.


Regards,

Eike

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