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Re: so, would it be surprising, or not, to find an almost identical specimen of a dino (say, allosaurus)....

Yes, the correct statement would be that Pelagornithidae lasted for roughly 50 
million years.  Because the species are relatively homogenous in form, we can 
say that their particularly morphology also lasted for 50 million years, in a 
sense, but not the individual species.

Incidentally, I believe the modern genus Rhinolophus is assigned to some late 
Eocene taxa, as well as fossil taxa throughout the later Paleogene and Neogene 
- so that would be a long-lasting example from the genera pool, though the 
subjectivity of genera makes it a bit uninteresting.

--Mike H.

On Oct 27, 2011, at 12:20 PM, Matthew Martyniuk wrote:

> By my reading of that article they're referring to the entire group,
> "order" or whatever you want to call it lasting 50 million years, not
> any specific genus or species. If not, they made a mistake, as there
> is no evidence any of the dozens of individual species lasted that
> long.
> Matt
> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM, Brian Hathaway <hammeris1@att.net> wrote:
>> Yes, very true.  Perhaps the experts were misquoted in the news story,
>> or that they were not referring to the specific species of Pelagornis 
>> cilenisis,
>> but to the genus.  50 million years!  Even Dick Clark didn't last that long.
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Renato Santos <dracontes@gmail.com>
>> ..... There's also the fact that all we generally have
>> are the bones and these aren't the whole animal: soft tissue,
>> physiology and behavior can change without outwardly affecting bone
>> morphology.

Michael Habib
Assistant Professor of Biology
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
Buhl Hall, Room 226A
(443) 280-0181