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Re: 11th specimen of Archaeopteryx



On 21 October 2011 11:49, Brian Hathaway <hammeris1@att.net> wrote:
> So ... Wikipedia is a sick puppy that probably can never be cured, but can
> someone give me the latest/greatest paper, speech, book stating what the most
> recent view is of where Archie is?  Is it still in Aves?  Is it the majority
> view that it is a split-off no longer in the direct line of birds?  And is it
> felt that it does have known close-ancestors in the record?

There really are no definitive answers to this.  If what you want
really is just the *latest* then of course that can be stated, but by
its nature it will change next week.

The synthetic perspective on Archaeopteryx is much fuzzier.  There
probably is no "majority view" on whether it's closer to birds or to
velociraptorines rigt now -- all that can be confidently said is that
it's somewhere around that node -- maybe one side, maybe the other,
maybe just above the node (i.e. outside the bird+velociraptorine
clade).

Ignoring Archaeopteryx for a moment and concentrating on the much more
charismatic fossil organism Haplocanthosaurus, it's similarly
meaningless to ask that the majority view is on its phylogenetic
affinities.  Wilson (2002) recovered it on one side of the neosauropod
split, as a diplodocoid, Upchurch et al. (2004) on the other side, as
a macronarian, and Upchurch's earlier (1999) analysis found it outside
of Neosauropoda.  That's just how things are always going to be with
taxa that are close to split points.

-- Mike.