From now on, pigeons are little vultures, too.

This post celebrates the power
of reexamination. It also celebrates the power of having lots of data stored as photos that can be quickly compared and repaired with DGS, which is particularly important with birds, which tend to fuse skull bones. It also celebrates the power of following the data, not tradition, pride or bias. This weekend I’ve been working on problems that appeared in yesterday’s post. This is one such problem, now resolved.

Remember
when the dodo (Raphus) and solitaire (Pezohaps) were nested with the New World vulture, Coragyps, instead of the traditional pigeon, Caloenas? If fuzzy on that, click here for a review.

Figure 1. The New World vulture, Coragyps, compared in vivo to the rock dove or pigeon, Columba. This is a novel relationship previously overlooked.

Figure 1. The New World vulture, Coragyps, compared in vivo to the rock dove or pigeon, Columba. This is a novel relationship previously overlooked.

Today after reexamination
pigeons, like Columba and Caloenas, now nest with the New World vulture, Coragyps. The flightless taxa, Raphus, Pezohaps and Aptornis nest nearby. Outgroups include the soaring petrels, like Macronectes. What I’m proposing here is a previously overlooked hypothesis of bird interrelationships.

Figure 2. Skull of Coragyps the vulture, compared to Caloenas, the pigeon.

Figure 2. Skull of Coragyps the vulture, compared to Caloenas, the pigeon.

I should have noticed this earlier
but I’m obviously still on a learning curve.

Pigeons and vultures
are both volant, but feed on the ground. Pigeons are more derived than New World vultures. They are phylogenetic miniatures. They tend to have more juvenile traits, including a smaller size and slightly shorter rostrum with a larger orbit and cranial region.

The LRT and certain ReptileEvolution.com web pages are not repaired yet. That will happen soon enough.

References
Gmelin JF 1789. Caroli a Linné … Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, Secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, Cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. Editio Decima Tertia, Aucta, Reformata/ cura Jo. Frid. Gmelin. Volume 1, part 3. Lipsiae: Impensis Georg. Emanuel. Beer.
Gray GR 1840. List of Gen. B:59
LeMaout JEM 1853. Les trois regnes de la nature. Regne animal. Histoire naturalle des oiseaux, suivant la classification de M. Isidore Geoffroy-Saint-Hillaire, avec l’indication de leurs moeurs et de leurs rapports avec les arts, le commerce et l’agriculture. Par Emm. Le Maout. L. Curmer. Paris 425 pp.
Vieillot LJP 1809. Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de l’Amérique Septentrionale

wiki/Columba
wiki/Nicobar_pigeon
wiki/Coragyps atratus

 

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