[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy"

> The crown group is far more robust and far more significant.

 Significant, yes, but robust? I don't think its composition is
 particularly stable (from the standpoint of fossils, of course --
 from the standpoint of living taxa, anything between the crown and
 its total clade is equally stable) and there are probably clades
 diagnosable by a larger number of morphological apomorphies.

And indeed, *Lithornis* was found outside Neornithes in a few analyses in the last 10 years. I think this is wrong and due to the way too small number of Paleogene paleognaths in those analyses, but that's somewhat beside the point.

 The PhyloCode requires using "species"* as specifiers.

Actually, it requires specimens; you are simply allowed to use the name of a species as shorthand for its type specimen.

> Hence, if we'd need a phylogenetic definition of Aves RIGHT NOW,
> the only one that pertains to a clade that is proven beyond all
> reasonable doubt, and to a clade interesting enough to warrant such
> a familiar name, and that is not wrought with a whole damn lot of
> controversy, would be: "Anything closer to _Struthio camelus_ +
> _Vultur gryphus/Passer domesticus/Gallus gallus_ than to
> _Enantiornis leali_ + _Sapeornis chaoyangensis_ + _Confuciusornis
> sanctus_" or equivalent.

 That's _Euornithes_. Do you really think this is the clade that most
 deserves the name _Aves_? I mean, the known composition of the clade
 in question is equivalent to something like (_Archaeorhynchus_ +
 _Neornithes_). What is so important about it? What significant
 apomorphies do we currently believe originated there?

Is the joint in the shoulder girdle, where the scapula has a peg that fits into a socket on the coracoid, already present in *Archaeorhynchus*?

 BTW, using _Gallus gallus_ as a default representative of living
 birds in phylogenetic definitions is a great idea. It is still
 relatively deeply nested, we know its phylogenetic position with
 great precision (unlike _V. gryphus_ and _P. domesticus_) and as a
 model organism for evo-devo it is very well studied.