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*Fluvioviridavis* is a Podargiform, PLoS ONE (OA)



Nesbitt, S. J., Ksepka, D., T. & Clarke, J. A. 2011. Podargiform affinities and 
the enigmatic *Fluvioviridavis platyrhamphus* and the early diversification of 
Strisores ("Caprimulgiformes" + Apodiformes). _PLoS ONE_ 6(11):e26350. 
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026350 [Open Access, link below]

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0026350?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+plosone%2FEvolutionaryBiology+%28PLoS+ONE+Alerts%3A+Evolutionary+Biology%29

Abstract:
"Background
The early Eocene Green River Formation avifauna preserves exceptional exemplars 
of the earliest unambiguous stem representatives of many extant avian clades. 
We identify the basal-most member of Podargiformes (extant and fossil stem 
lineage frogmouths) based on a new specimen of *Fluvioviridavis platyrhamphus*, 
a unique neoavian bird from the Fossil Butte Member of the Green River 
Formation of Wyoming. Extant frogmouths (Podargidae) comprise approximately 13 
nocturnal species with an exclusively Australasian distribution.

Methodology/Principal Findings
The new specimen was included in a combined phylogenetic analysis of 
morphological (osteology and soft tissue) and molecular sequence (_cytochrome 
b_, _c-myc exon 3_, and _RAG_) data sampling species-level taxa from both 
extant and extinct members of Steatornithidae, Podargidae, Caprimulgidae, 
Nyctibiidae, Aegothelidae, and Apodiformes ( = Strisores). New data from *F. 
platyrhamphus* help resolve phylogenetic relationships within Strisores, 
supporting placement of *F. platyrhamphus* and the European fossil form 
*Masillapodargus longipes* as basal parts of Podargiformes and also supporting 
a sister taxon relationship between Podargiformes and Steatornithiformes 
(oilbirds) within Strisores. This relationship is recovered only when fossil 
taxa are included, reaffirming the potential impact of stem fossil taxa on 
inferences of phylogenetic relationships. The well-preserved mandible and 
palate of the new specimen demonstrate that many of the unique characteristics 
of the skull that characterize the crown frogmouth clade Podargidae arose early 
in the evolutionary history of the clade, over 50 million years ago. 
Comparisons with the new specimen also indicate that *Eurofluvioviridavis* and 
*Fluvioviridavis* are not closely related.

Conclusions/Significance
Together with the European fossil frogmouth *Masillapodargus*, 
*Fluvioviridavis* shows that Podargiformes had a much wider geographic 
distribution in the past, whereas extant species are restricted to Australasia. 
The Eocene record of Strisores from the Green River Formation and Messel 
Formation indicates most major subclade divergences had already occurred by the 
early-middle Eocene."

Cheers,

Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
http://qilong.wordpress.com/

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)


"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 
Backs)