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Origins of crown group birds

From: Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Gerald Mayr (2014)
The origins of crown group birds: molecules and fossils
Palaeontology 57(2): 231-242
DOI: 10.1111/pala.12103

Knowledge of the evolutionary history of crown group birds
(Neornithes) has significantly improved through emerging congruence
among phylogenetic hypotheses and the description of numerous new
Palaeogene stem group representatives. However, controversies still
persist about the precise interrelationships of many extant and fossil
taxa and about the timing of the diversification of the neornithine
crown group. Using the example of Phaethontiformes (tropicbirds) and
Psittaciformes (parrots), it is shown how new sequence-based
phylogenies may shed light on the relationships of fossils with an
unexpected character mosaic, and how such fossils can improve our
understanding of character evolution in morphologically disparate
avian taxa. The earliest occurrences of neornithine birds are plotted
on a current phylogeny. As noted by previous authors, an extensive
diversification of neornithine birds before the latest Cretaceous is
not supported by the fossil record, and the existence of essentially
modern-type representatives of Telluraves (the clade including most
arboreal birds) in the Cretaceous, such as suggested from molecular
calibrations, is highly unlikely.