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.


  1. For reference:

  2. I am beginning to look at flamingos. This is interesting:
    "The Palaelodidae are a family of extinct birds in the order Phoenicopteriformes, which today is represented only by the flamingos.[1] They have been described as "swimming flamingos."
    Three genera are recognised:
    Adelalopus, called the "stout-legged flamingos" (Borgloon Early Oligocene of Hoogbutsel, Belgium)[2]
    Palaelodus (Middle Oligocene -? Middle Pleistocene)
    Megapaloelodus (Late Oligocene - Early Pliocene)"
    "A wide variety of birds have been proposed as their closest relatives, on a wide variety of evidence. To reflect the uncertainty about this matter, flamingos are generally placed in their own order. [Phoenicopteriformes]"

  3. 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.

  6. A preliminary, possible lineage:

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

    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 were a sister group". Cladistics always says that. That tells us nothing.

    Palaelodids may well have been the ancestors of the flamingos. Anything cladistics says on that question is irrelevant.

  10. Without regard to the question of whether Palaelodus was an ancestor or a "sister taxon", we have confirmation of the idea that a separate line led to Phoenicopteriformes.
    It is one of the parallel lines I talk about.

  11. For reference:

    An extinct family of peculiar "swimming flamingos", the Palaelodidae, are believed to be related to, or to be THE ANCESTORS OF, the modern flamingos. This is sometimes rejected, since the fossil Elornis is known to be from some time before any palaelodid flamingos have been recorded.