[Taxacom] Gansus fossils overly hyped?

J. Kirk Fitzhugh kfitzhug at nhm.org
Fri Jun 16 13:17:36 CDT 2006

It would have been more appropriate for the authors to have presented a 
strict consensus tree of their 24 cladograms, rather than a 50% 
majority-rule tree.  All of the hypotheses need to be given equal 


At 05:49 PM 6/16/2006 +0000, you wrote:
>Dear All,
>       Finally, publication on a fantastic find of nearly complete fossils of
>the Cretaceous bird Gansus.  However, to say that this amphibious waterfowl
>is a good model for the ancestor of modern birds is a very risky
>      Not only are cladistic trees of early ornithuromorphans extremely
>unstable, but Gansus is a relatively specialized, foot-propelled bird (much
>like grebes and loons which were once classified close together and near the
>based of modern birds).  And add to that the poor fossilization potential of
>terrestrial birds compared to that of littoral birds and waterfowl.

J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Curator of Polychaetes
Invertebrate Zoology Section
Research & Collections Branch
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007

Phone:   213-763-3233
FAX:       213-746-2999
e-mail:   kfitzhug at nhm.org

More information about the Taxacom mailing list