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Re: [dinosaur] Evolution of giant flightless birds (free pdf)



> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com[mailto:bcreisler@gmail.com]
>
> A new paper:
>
> (Note regarding the recently proposed Vegaviidae.....
>
> "A fourth clade is represented by the Cretaceous Vegavis (Antarctica), which 
> was strongly excluded from Anseriformes")

And there, in Table 1, we have the first published misunderstanding of 
Vegaviidae as a family: "family vegaviidae agnolin et al. [97]". (Bizarrely, 
the entire table is in lowercase.) Reference 97, the paper by Agnolin et al., 
isn't cited anywhere else in the paper, evidently because it came out too 
recently; yet, the same Table 1 names "order vegaviiformes new taxon".

Not that that matters; orders are by definition as informal as Vegaviidae. 
Apart from such basics as the letter inventory, the ICZN only regulates the 
species group, genus group and family group of ranks. Even priority does not 
apply to orders, classes or phyla; thus, for example, the choice between 
Ceratosauria Owen, 1888, and Ceratosauria Marsh, 1884, is one of (universal) 
personal preference.

While I'm at it, I'm afraid that Article 32.5.1 is intended as extremely narrow 
in application; the example given is naming a species "ninnaei" and saying it's 
named after Linnaeus. A dictionary, or other knowledge of a language, is 
probably considered "external information". However, the existence of the 
spelling *Vesperopterylus* in the same paper means that this issue is moot; 
instead, a First Reviser is needed, and that person can simply choose 
*Vesperopterylus* as the correct spelling without even mentioning a reason as 
far as I understand Art. 24.2, especially 24.2.3:

"If a name is spelled in more than one way in the original work, the first 
author to have cited them together and to have selected one spelling as correct 
is the First Reviser. The selected spelling (if not incorrect under Articles 
32.4. or 32.5) is thereby fixed as the correct original spelling; any other 
spelling is incorrect (and therefore unavailable [Art. 32.4])."

On lysorophians being amniotes, well... I just ran another analysis and keep 
getting them outside of Amniota (though, as previously, closer than the 
seymouriamorphs). My matrix lacks practically any braincase characters; the 
matrix of Pardo et al. (2017) has plenty of them, but lacks any taxa except 
those with a lot of braincase data, which eliminates almost all supposed 
lepospondyls (together with plenty of early amniotes); neither their matrix nor 
mine (nor any other) contains characters related to the plesiomorphic 
hyobranchial apparatus of lysorophians, which would not be very odd in a larval 
salamander (except for being so well ossified) or for that matter a juvenile 
temnospondyl, but looks quite out of place in an amniote. And while 
lysorophians lack scales (bone plates in the dermis, as in "fish"; epidermal 
scales as in sauropsids are something else!), no matrix has yet included the 
dorsal scales which are retained in a wide variety of "microsaurs" (including 
some in the matrix of Pardo et al.) but not in any uncontroversial amniote. 
(The ventral scales are retained as gastralia, however.) Phylogenetics with 
morphological data is a huge amount of work, and we're going to see more of it 
over the next... many years.