Nuclear DNA does not reconcile 'rocks' and 'clocks' in Neoaves: A comment on Ericson et al.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Biology letters (Impact Factor: 3.25). 07/2007; 3(3):257-9; discussion 260-1. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0611
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Available from: David Mindell, Oct 06, 2014
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    • "That key temporal interval has been correlated with significant turnover in the mammalian fauna of Europe (i.e., the Grande Coupure), global climate change (cooling), and significant biogeographic changes (Holroyd and Maas, 1994; Liu et al., 2009; Mayr, 2011). Furthermore , molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record congruently suggest that the EOCT was a time of global avian radiation and avifaunal turnover (van Tuinen et al., 2006; Brown et al., 2007). From both of these Eocene—Oligocene fossiliferous deposits come some of the oldest records of avian groups (e.g., jacanas and cormorants ), as well as fossils of enigmatic extinct groups of uncertain phylogenetic affinities (e.g., ameghinornithids and Eremopezus; Rasmussen et al., 1987; Mayr, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The Ameghinornithidae are an enigmatic group of potentially flightless Paleogene birds currently known from three European species. Herein, we report a new fossil that represents the first record of an ameghinornithid-like bird from Africa. The new speci- men was collected from the early Oligocene Jebel Qatrani Formation exposed in the Fayum Depression of northern Egypt, and may represent the youngest record of the clade. The new specimen exhibits many similarities with European ameghinornithids, including the absence of an ossified supratendinal bridge on the tibiotarsus, a circular lateral condyle of the tibiotarsus, and a large medial epicondyle. The Fayum specimen is intermediate in size compared to the European ameghinornithids and is character- ized by the absence of a projection of the medial condyle cranial to the lateral condyle and the presence of paired ridges (and associated grooves) proximal to the lateral con- dyle. The occurrence of Ameghinornithidae in the early Oligocene of Africa would have implications regarding the timing and pattern of biogeographic interchanges across the Tethys seaway.
    Palaeontologia Electronica 02/2015; 18.1.5A(1):1-8. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    • "Charadriiformes among Aves is not unambiguously established because the results of analyses of higher-level phylogenetic relationships of Aves are incongruent (Mayr and Clarke, 2003; Hackett et al., 2008; Livezey and Zusi, 2006, 2007; Brown et al., 2007; Ericson et al., 2006), thus complicating the choice of a fossil calibration to date the split of Charadriiformes from its nearest outgroup. For example, if Charadriiformes are the sister taxon to the 'waterbird' clade as hypothesized by Brown et al., 2007, then the earliest known penguins, Waimanu manneringi and Waimanu tuatahi (~61 Ma; Slack et al., 2006) might provide a calibration for that split. However, if Charadriiformes are the "
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    ABSTRACT: The Charadriiformes (shorebirds and allies) are an ecologically and morphologi- cally diverse clade with a global geographic distribution. The perceived antiquity of this lineage and the cryptic plumage and morphology of some charadriiforms have made them a frequent focus of study by ornithologists. Likewise, with the relatively recent advent of molecular sequence based divergence estimation methods, no less than seven studies have estimated the timing of cladogenetic events in Charadriiformes. Unfortunately, all of those studies have suffered from poor choice and characterization (i.e., age and taxonomic assignment) of fossil calibrations used for divergence time analysis. Given that studies of both real and simulated data have demonstrated the potential for calibration choice to bias node age estimates, the results of previously published analyses of divergence times for Charadriiformes must, accordingly, be viewed with caution. To alleviate introduction of fossil calibration bias with respect to future analyses of divergence times including Charadriiformes, 16 rigorously evaluated charadriiform fossil calibrations are reported herein.
    Palaeontologia Electronica 02/2015; 18.1.4FC(1):1-18. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    • "Previous studies have addressed the question of the origin of the Gruiformes [46], [49] and the biogeography and evolution of some lineages of rails have been recently considered [47], [80], [85], [86]. Nevertheless, identification of the basal split and diversification of the rails has remained uncertain because of differences in the estimated dates and approaches used [46], [49]–[51]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Central to our understanding of the timing of bird evolution is debate about an apparent conflict between fossil and molecular data. A deep age for higher level taxa within Neoaves is evident from molecular analyses but much remains to be learned about the age of diversification in modern bird families and their evolutionary ecology. In order to better understand the timing and pattern of diversification within the family Rallidae we used a relaxed molecular clock, fossil calibrations, and complete mitochondrial genomes from a range of rallid species analysed in a Bayesian framework. The estimated time of origin of Rallidae is Eocene, about 40.5 Mya, with evidence of intrafamiliar diversification from the Late Eocene to the Miocene. This timing is older than previously suggested for crown group Rallidae, but fossil calibrations, extent of taxon sampling and substantial sequence data give it credence. We note that fossils of Eocene age tentatively assigned to Rallidae are consistent with our findings. Compared to available studies of other bird lineages, the rail clade is old and supports an inference of deep ancestry of ground-dwelling habits among Neoaves.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e109635. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0109635 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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