Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Flamingo Lineage (2)

Here is an enhancement to the possible flamingo lineage:

  • Pterosaur (Ctenochasmatidae )   Pterodaustro  --->
  • Presbyornithid subgroup--> 
  • Primitive bird, Palaelodidae (Phoenicopteriformes)  --> 
  • Flamingo (Phoenicopteriformes)

Pterosaurs lasted till late Cretaceous
Presbyornithids spanned from late Cretaceous? to Early Oligocene
Palaelodidae spanned from early Oligocene to Middle Pleistocene
Modern flamingos span from 30 mya to the present day
There is evidence to indicate the Flamingo evolved at least 30 million years ago, perhaps longer. 

Note: I have added in the flamingos here:
"Our investigation of skeletal and ontogenetic variation in Pterodaustro  gives insights into  the
developmental  growth  dynamics of this  unusual  ctenochasmatid pterodactyloid   from  early
ontogeny  through  to  adulthood  and  also pro vides   information  pertaining  to  histological   variability   within   and between bones of individuals. This  study  also documents the presence of what  appears to be medullary bone tissue within the medullary cavity  of a large femur  of Pterodaustro.  This  suggests that,  like  birds,  reproductively  active female  pterosaurs  may have deposited a special bone tissue (medullary bone) to cope with  the demand of  calcium  during  eggshelling."

Friday, December 23, 2011


Here is a summary of the basic ideas of this site. This is a work in progress.:
Birds developed in a lineage from proto-pterosaurs (eg. cosesaurus)
to pterosaurs (eg. pterodactyls)
to primitive pygostylia birds (eg. enantiornithes)
to modern flying birds (neognathae) and modern flightless birds (palaeognathae).
Primitive pterosaurs (rhamphorhynchids) developed into long-bony-tailed feathered creatures (eg. dromaeosaurs) which went extinct. Advanced pterosaurs (pterodactyls) developed into short-tailed feathered birds (Pygostylia).
The category called "coelurosaur dinosaurs" includes only actual dinosaurs (eg. tyrannosaurs). It does not include birds.
The fossil record does not support the dinosaur-to-bird idea. The fossil record does support the pterosaur-to-bird idea.

pycnofibres to feathers
warm blooded
particular pterosaurs to particular birds
ghost lineages
finger phalanges

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Flamingo Lineage

Here is an introduction to the flamingo lineage:

A preliminary, possible lineage:

Pterosaur (Ctenochasmatidae) Pterodaustro --> Primitive bird, Palaelodidae (Phoenicopteriformes)
--> Flamingo (Phoenicopteriformes)
See this earlier post on the flamingo pterosaur:
Pterodaustro is a genus of Cretaceous pterodactyloid pterosaur [Ctenochasmatidae] from South America, which lived 105 million years ago.
The modern bird that's most often compared to the South American Pterodaustro is the flamingo, which this pterosaur closely resembled in appearance, if not in every aspect of its anatomy. Based on its thousand or so distinctive, bristlelike teeth, paleontologists believe that the early Cretaceous Pterodaustro dipped its curved beak into the water to filter out plankton, small crustaceans, and other tiny aquatic creatures. Since shrimp and plankton are predominantly pink, some of these scientists also speculate that Pterodaustro may have had a distinctly pinkish hue, another trait it would have shared with modern flamingos.
Pterodaustro probably waded in shallow water like flamingos, straining food with its tooth comb, a method called "filter feeding".[4] Once it caught its food, Pterodaustro probably mashed it with the small, globular teeth present in its upper jaw.
According to Robert Bakker, like with flamingos, this pterosaur's diet may have resulted in a pink hue. Thus, it is often dubbed the "flamingo pterosaur".[5]
"Pterodaustro is represented by a number of specimens from Argentina. There is a complete skeleton, a partial juvenile and an egg, just to mention a few. This unusual pterosaur is quite well represented in the fossil record, certainly enough is known to make a convincing reconstruction.
Most unusually, this was a filter feeder with a fine sieve of unusually adapted teeth that would have been ideal for filter feeding on small aquatic living organisms. This was the Flamingo of the ancient world!
It is also the first pterosaur where gizzard stones have been observed to be present."
"Palaelodus is an extinct genus of birds distantly related to flamingos. They were slender birds with long, thin legs and a long neck. Little is known about the shape of their skull or beak. Some paleontologists think Palaelodus was able to swim under water, chasing prey, but the morphology of their feet seems not very well adapted for diving. Rather, it is more likely that they were adapted to browsing for food while swimming or standing in shallow water.
The family, Palaelodidae, is the sister taxon of modern flamingos, and the order Phoenicopteriformes, to which both belong, probably evolved from a grebe-like ancestor. It is easy to see how a bird like Palaelodus represents an intermediate form between a diving, fish-eating grebe and a wading, invertebrate-filtering flamingo. This does not mean that the palaelodids are the ancestors of the flamingos. Rather, they were a sister group that remained in the ecological niche of their common ancestor."

Since cladistics does not recognize ANCESTORS, it really means nothing to say that they "probably evolved from a grebe-like ancestor" or that  "they were a sister group". Cladistics always says something like that. That tells us nothing.
Palaelodids may well have been the ancestors of the flamingos. Anything cladistics says on that question is irrelevant.
It is one of the parallel lines I talk about.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


For ease of reference, here is the list of links to the categories I have analyzed to this point. This is a work in progress.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cladistics - Sleight of Hand
"Birds are dinosaurs, that is, they are the direct descendents of an ancestor that spawned the dinosaurs, yet palaeontologists typically refer to dinosaurs while explicitly not referring to birds. Thus one should formally call them non-avian dinosaurs (basically all dinosaurs except birds)."
"First off the rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs (or more properly ‘rhamphorhynchoids’ as the quotes denote it as paraphyletic) which often come up here in my frequent posts on pterosaurs. As with non-avian dinosaurs, the term persists as one of convenience as basically it’s easier to write than “non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs”."

Note the sleight of hand. 
The author says:
"Birds are dinosaurs, that is, they are the direct descendents of an ancestor that spawned the dinosaurs". 

In other words, birds did NOT evolve from dinosaurs but rather (according to the author) birds and dinosaurs evolved from some OTHER unnamed "common ancestor". 
But the author does not make this point clear at all. In fact, he misleadingly compares it to the paraphyletic (ANCESTRAL) rhamphorhynchus relationship which is a true ANCESTOR relationship - an ancestor of pterodactyls.
He talks as if they were the same type of relationship. 
Of course it is not the same relationship at all - they are opposites.

NOTE:  Birds are not even related to dinosaurs. Cladistics makes it even more difficult to establish correct ancestry. In this post I am just showing the absurdity of cladistics. If we just kept to ancestor/descendant relationships we would not have these cladistic obfuscations.

An excellent analysis of issue with cladistics:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The absurdity of cladistics
"An evolutionary grade is a group of species united by morphological or physiological traits, that has given rise to another group that differs markedly from the ancestral condition, and is thus not considered part of the ancestral group. The ancestral group will not be phylogenetically complete (i.e. will not form a clade), so will represent a paraphyletic [ancestral] taxon".

This is the absurdity of cladistics. 
When "a group of species has given rise to another group that differs markedly from the ancestral condition, it  is not considered part of the ancestral group."

So an ANCESTOR is not an ANCESTOR!!!

I expect that not many cladists even know about the absurdity buried within cladistics.

Ancestral relationships

Here is another example of cladists struggling with an ancestral relationship. Keep in mind that cladistics does not recognize ancestral relationships.
"There are currently two primary but competing views of azhdarchoid relationships. The first, presented by Felipe Pinheiro and colleagues in 2011, considers the tapejarids to be a monophyletic clade including the thalassodromines and chaoyangopterines.[4] The second, found by Lu et al. 2008 as well as Naish & Martill 2006, considers the tapejarids to be a paraphyletic [ANCESTRAL] grade of primitive azhdarchoids. All azhdarchoids closer toAzhdarcho than to Tapejara are included in the clade Neoazhdarchia("new azhdarchids").[2]"





If we analyze these two competing views they actually come down to two different conclusions about the ANCESTRAL relationships.
In the first view, Azhdarchidae is the ancestor (which is not acknowledged). In the second view, Tapejaridae is the ancestor (and is acknowledged).
Since cladistics does not even recognize ancestral relationships, the cladists are stymied about how to even think about these ancestral relationships.

Friday, December 9, 2011

* "An important unanswered question"

More from this 2011 study:
"The timing and sequence of events that led to the origin and subsequent evolution of flapping flight in birds remains an important unanswered question in vertebrate evolutionary biology." 

The question is "unanswered". That is quite an admission. 
The dino to bird enthusiasts themselves acknowledge that on the most important question they have no idea. 
They cannot even figure out a story to explain how a purported unknown, unfound dinosaur lineage somehow developed wings and feathers and became birds. 
It is an absurd idea. And for most of history it has been recognized as absurd. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Enantiornithes - versatile fliers

Here is a new study that contains some very interesting material.
Here is one small part concerning Enantiornithes:

Four flight styles for living birds were used:‘continuous flapping’ (CF) (e.g. grebes, ducks and auks); ‘flapping and soaring’ (FS) (e.g. storks, pelicans and large raptors); ‘flapping and gliding’ (FG) (e.g. swifts, falcons and gulls); ‘passerine-type flight’ (PT). 
sampled enantiornithines fall across the range of all defined flight styles

I have proposed that enantiornithines are the ancestors of many modern bird taxa. When it comes to flight style we see the versatility within enantiornithes. 
And we already saw that they inhabited all the different niches. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

* No dino to bird lineage

It may be surprising for some people to learn that the dino to bird theory is not supported by any fossils. Those who propose the dino to bird theory acknowledge the fact that they have never found one fossil that is on the purported line from dino to bird.
There are a number of dinosaur taxa  that have been found, but it has been determined that none of them are ancestors to birds.
Even so, the dino to bird enthusiasts still imagine that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

This lack of fossils is well known but never mentioned.
All that has ever been found are dinosaur taxa that are NOT ancestors. The dino to bird theorists claim they are "sister taxa". But of course that makes no sense because there is no evidence of any actual dino to bird lineage for those sister taxa to be related to. None.
It is all imagination.