The taller ancestors of crows to scale

Every so often it’s worthwhile to take a wider view
to appreciate the model of evolution hypothesized by the large reptile tree (LRT, 1761+ taxa) to see the patterns of microevolution it documents. Otherwise, all you have is a long list of under-appreciated taxa on a dense family tree.

Today, let’s look at the ancestry of one of the smartest birds,
(Corvus brachyrhynchosLinneaus 1758; Fig. 1), the extant American crow.  Derived from a long list of longer-legged freshwater shorebirds, Corvus is generalized bird close to the stone curlew (Burhinus) and the grackle (Oedicnemus) and basal to robins, jays, birds of paradise and cuckoos.

Figure 1. Click to enlarge. Taxa in the LRT ancestral to crows. Each taxon represents a branch that has gone its own way since the divergent node.

Figure 1. Click to enlarge. Taxa in the LRT ancestral to crows. Each taxon represents a branch that has gone its own way since the divergent node.

Chronology
The presence of Eogranivora in the Early Cretaceous indicates that sisters to Pseudocrypturus and Crypturus (close to Megapodius) are more ancient. Seriemas, storks and corn crakes are more recent, perhaps radiating in the Late Cretaceous. Short-legged taxa are neotonous, since chicks of long-legged taxa do not have such long bills and long legs as adults. This makes birds different than pterosaurs, in which hatchlings are identical to 8x larger adults.


References
Linnaeus C 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.

wiki/Common_grackle
wiki/Corvus
wiki/Blue_jay
wiki/Eurasian_stone-curlew

6 thoughts on “The taller ancestors of crows to scale

  1. I notice you get almost no replies anymore. That’s not a sign you are wrong btw. Skeletal morphology does trump deep-time genetics/proteins. I find a lot of your stuff crazy insane, and yet; like your hypothesis that Indricotheres are actually three-toed horses, a lot makes SENSE. Wombat toxodons and placoderm catfish are like “whoa”……pterosaurs as lepidosaurs is pretty tame compared to that!

      • I also noticed that there are no comments any more. Several scientists told you that adding taxa is not the solution and 235 characters cannot explain the entire variability and relationships of more than 1700 taxa…
        I am a paleontologist with some expertises in cartilaginous fishes. Your posts about the non-monophyly of Batoidea, Myliobatiformes, etc. are simply ridicolous. How can you find Manta, a stingray, sister to Turinia, a thelodon(!!!!), and very far from Aetobatus (another stingray) ?? Did you ever try to include the synapomorphies of Batoidea, Myliobatiformes, etc in your character list? I guess not…
        “Say goodbye to … Science” – semi-cit.

      • Hi GiuseppeM,

        It’s not up to me whether comments are received here. Someone has to write them first.

        re: taxa vs. characters… I’ve heard that since there were just 236 taxa. Now there are several times that many taxa with good lumping and separation with high Bootstrap scores. My guess is ‘some scientists’ are working from a binary yes/no hypothesis. Here most characters have 3 to 10 possible scores.

        re: Manta and Turinia… you evidently read the post. A terminal mouth without marginal teeth is one trait that nests Manta at the base of gnathostomes along with the whale shark and Turinia. No other stingray has that morphology. Convergence is often present. When you test taxa together that have never been tested together, new relationships sometimes arise. All hypotheses offered here can be falsified, but the taxon list must be maintained. Don’t let tradition or bias affect your opinion. Test first and offer competing evidence before saying ‘goodbye to science.’ That’s the way science works.

  2. “A terminal mouth without marginal teeth is one trait that nests Manta at the base of gnathostomes along with the whale shark and Turinia. No other stingray has that morphology.”
    So, using a single, badly-defined, homoplastic character and ingnoring all batoid synapomorphies detected for years by several experts studying material (and not using Photoshop on low-resolution figures) makes this relationship reliable?
    Despite you have no clue about the clade you talk about, you even ingnore suggestions, feedbacks, and literature written by experts on that clade (yes, that thing you call “tradition or bias”). This is not the way to do Science. Of course, the same can be said for every single clade you talk about.

    “Test first and offer competing evidence before saying ‘goodbye to science’.”
    As you know better than me, “Goodbye to Batoidea, Myliobatiformes, etc” has been used by you here:
    https://pterosaurheresies.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/goodbye-batoidea-another-traditional-clade-invalidated-by-the-lrt/
    implying that only you have the real knowledge (of what?), destroying with a single post years and years of studies. My semicitation was a parody of your statement.

    • Giuseppe, calm down. Please send a competing analysis that includes the pertinent taxa (i.e. Manta, Rhincodon, Loganellia, Chondrosteus, Turinia) along with the rays and skates.

      I have made over 100,000 corrections to the scoring and data points of taxa over the last ten years. Everything I post is falsifiable. I just need the data to do so. I am not a shark and ray expert. I am simply reporting results.

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