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

This might be the best paper I've read describing a Tertiary bird.  Most simply 
note a few 'key' areas of the skeleton, provide a small image of the skeleton, 
and at most include a tiny morphological analysis of a few taxa.  Nesbitt et 
al. actually describe the morphology in depth, include detailed figures of the 
skull, pelvis, etc. and use a large analysis with many living and fossil 
cypselomorph OTUs, molecular characters and several potential outgroups.  If 
more workers follow their example we might get neoavian phylogeny worked out 
sooner than later.

Mickey Mortimer

> Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2011 00:37:56 -0700
> From: qi_leong@hotmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: *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)