Avian phylogeny (Major Revision)

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 1 05:23:46 CDT 2002

Dear All,
    The following classification is not just an update, but a fairly major
revision in the phylogeny and classification of early birds.  I've been
wanting to do this for quite some time.  I really have tried putting
Mononykiformes where many other workers have placed them, but they seem
completely out of place except near ornithothoraceans.  When I named
Mononykiformes in 1994, that is where I placed them (sister group to what is
now called the "ornithothoracean" clade).
     However, once I had returned to this position (just a few weeks ago),
it very soon became clear to me that many of the new fossil birds found
since 1994 demonstrate that mononykiforms are actually even more advanced
than the basal ornithothoraceans (the non-ornithurines). As you can see
below I have now placed mononykiforms as sister group to clade 12+
("Ornithurae"), and Avimiformes is the next outgroup to that clade. The
generic name Avimimus is clearly a misnomer (being far, far more derived
than Archaeopteryx), but this is an understandable mistake made long ago
(and we are stuck with it).  On the other hand, the recently named
Archaeovolans is such a misnomer that it makes me cringe.  That it is
probably a synonym of Yanornis is truly a blessing.      I have also put
genus Alvarezsaurus back into AVES, within Order Archaeopterygiformes.  As I
have long argued, the similarities used to unite Alvarezsaurus and
Mononykiformes into the very popular clade "Alvarezsauria" are almost
certainly convergences.  I believe this is the reason that the phylogenetic
position of this putative "clade" is so terribly unstable.  The other
popular clade "enigmosauria" is probably polyphyletic as well, and I have
not yet decided if Segnosauriforms (therizinosaurs) should be placed back in
Class AVES (sensu Kinman) or not.  If I do, they will most likely be basal
members, as a sister clade to Archaeopterygiformes (or even a subclade
thereof).  If so, whether to label their similarities to caenagnathiforms as
convergences or as parallelisms is merely a minor semantic debate of rather
marginal scientific importance.
    What is really most important and novel about the following phylogenetic
classification is the placement of mononykiforms and avimimiforms not only
within avebrevicaudans, but within its "ornithothoracean" subclade (and
furthermore, even within the latter's "euornithean" subclade).  The proposed
proximity of mononkyiforms to relatively advanced forms like hesperornithids
and ichthyornithids (and thus to living birds) comes as a bit of a surprise
even to me.  Such a move will obviously be very controversial, but I am not
one to shy away from controversy when I am convinced that I am plowing up
fertile new ground.  We shall see.
         --- Cheers,   Ken Kinman

CLASS AVES (sensu Kinman, Oct 2002)
 1 Archaeopterygiformes%
          1 Dromaeosauridae
          B "Utahraptoridae"
          ? Pl. Pyroraptor
          2 Archaeopterygidae
          3 Pl. Bambiraptor
          B Velociraptoridae
          ? Pl. Alvarezsaurus
          4 Pl. Sinornithosaurus
          ? Pl. Unenlagia
          5 Pl. Sinovenator
          ? Troodontidae
          6 Pl. Microraptor
          ? Pl. Cryptovolans
          7 Pl. Protarchaeopteryx
          8 {{Avebrevicauda}}
_1_ Caenagnathiformes
          1 Confusciusornithidae
          2 Pl. Caudipteryx
          B Pl. Nomingia
          ? Pl. Incisivosaurus
          3 Pl. Microvenator
          4 Oviraptoridae
          5 Caenagnathidae
B Omnivoropterygiformes
? Pl. Sapeornis
2 Yandangornithiformes
          1 Yandangornithidae
          ? Pl. Jeholornis
          ? Scansoriopterygidae
          ? Pl. Rahonavis
3  Pl. Protopteryx
4  Longipterygiformes
5  Iberomesornithiformes
6  Enantiornithiformes
B  Gobipterygiformes
7  Pl. Vorona
8  Patagopterygiformes
9  Chaoyangiiformes
?  Pl. Yanornis
?  Pl. Archaeovolans
10  Avimimiformes
          1 Pl. Kakuru
          2 Avimimidae
 ?  Pl. Timimus
11  Mononykiformes Kinman 1994
          1 Pl. "E." gautieri
          ? Pl. Rapator
          2 Patagonykidae
          3 Parvicursoridae
          4 Mononykidae
12  Pl. Apsaravis
13  Hesperornithiformes
14  Ambiortiformes
15  Ichthyornithiformes
16  Pl. Limenavis
17  Lithornithiformes
18  Tinamiformes
_a_ Struthioniformes
19  Galliformes
         .... rest of neognaths

MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos:

More information about the Taxacom mailing list