Agnolin 2021 on Brontornis affinities (still excluding parrots and stinkbirds)

Yes, it’s massive taxon exclusion time again
as Agnolin 2021 tells us that Brontornis (Fig. 2) is a giant goose.

We’ve known since 2011
that Brontornis is closely related to Gastornis (Figs. 1, 2) the giant flightless parrot.  Derived from hoatzins first, then sparrows, then even more distantly from fowl (= chickens, pheasants, peacocks), these giant flightless, herbivorous birds have all the hallmarks (= characters) of Ara, the parrot (Fig. 1).

Unfortunately,
these taxa were excluded from Agnolin’s 2021 analysis, again.

Figure 1. Gastornis (=Diatryma) to scale with Ara the parrot (lower right).

Figure 1. Gastornis (=Diatryma) to scale with Ara the parrot (lower right).

Figure 3. Skulls of Gastornis, Brontornis and Ara, the scarlet macaw.

Figure 3. Skulls of Gastornis, Brontornis and Ara, the scarlet macaw.

Agnolin 2007
also considered Brontornis a giant goose (Anseriformes).

Agnolin 2021
wrote, “After few changes in the data matrix, Brontornis results as part of a clade composed by the giant anseriforms designated by Worthy et al. 2017 as Gastornithiformes. This result is in agreement with recent proposals that excluded Brontornis from phorusrhacoid cariamiforms (where it was traditionally nested) and included it among Anseriformes.”

“Finally, the nesting of Brontornis among herbivorous giant anseriforms, together with several aspects of its mandibular morphology reinforces previous thoughts that Brontornis was herbivorous in habits.”

Fowl, sparrows, hoatzin (= stinkbirds) and parrots are all also herbivorous.

Unfortunately Agnolin 2007, 2021 supports
the hypothesis that fowl and geese are closely related in a traditional genomic clade, Galloanseriformes (= chicken + geese). The large reptile tree (LRT, 1803+ taxa; subset Fig. x) does not support that relationship. Rather fowl and geese are widely separated in the LRT where fowl are in cyan (= bright light blue, Fig. x) and geese are in pale magenta (= pinkish purple Fig. x).

Figure 4. Subset of the LRT focusing on birds. Chongmingia is highlighted in yellow in the Scansoriopterygidae.

Figure 4. Subset of the LRT focusing on birds. Chongmingia is highlighted in yellow in the Scansoriopterygidae.

Taxon exclusion
will always come back to haunt/bite you (pick your own favorite cliché). Add taxa as a remedy for this malady. It works every time.


References
Agnolin F 2007. Brontornis burmeisteri Moreno & Mercerat, un Anseriformes (Aves) gigante del Mioceno Medio de Patagonia, Argentina. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, n.s.9, 15-25.
Agnolin F 2021. Reappraisal on the Phylogenetic Relationships of the Enigmatic Flightless Bird (Brontornis burmeisteri) Moreno and Mercerat, 1891. Diversity 2021, 13, 90. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13020090
Andors AV 1992. Reappraisal of the Eocene ground bird Diatryma (Aves: Anserimorphae). Science Series Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. 36: 109–125.
Bourdon E and Cracraft J 2011. Gastornis is a terror bird: New insights into the evolution of the cariamae (Aves, Neornithes). Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 71stAnnual Meeting Program and Abstracts, p. 75
Buffetaut E 2014. Tertiary ground birds from Patagonia (Argentina) in the Tournouër collection of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France. 185(3):207–214.
Cope ED 1876. On a gigantic bird from the Eocene of New Mexico. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 28 (2): 10–11.
Hackett S et al. 2008. A phylogenetic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history. Science 320:1763–1768.
Hébert E 1855a. Note sur le tibia du Gastornis pariensis [sic] [Note on the tibia of G. parisiensis]. C. R. Hebd. Acad. Sci. Paris (in French) 40: 579–582.
Hébert E 1855b. Note sur le fémur du Gastornis parisiensis [Note on the femur of G. parisiensis]. C. R. Hebd. Acad. Sci. Paris (in French) 40: 1214–1217.
Linnaeus C 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.
Matthew WD, Granger W and Stein W 1917. The skeleton of Diatryma, a gigantic bird from the Lower Eocene of Wyoming. Buletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 37(11): 307-354.
Mustoe GE, Tucker DS and Kemplin KL 2012. Giant Eocene bird footprints from northwest Washington, USA. Palaeontology. 55 (6): 1293–1305.
Owen R 1843. On the remains of Dinornis, an extinct gigantic struthious bird. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 8–10, 144–146.
Prévost C 1855. Annonce de la découverte d’un oiseau fossile de taille gigantesque, trouvé à la partie inférieure de l’argile plastique des terrains parisiens [Announcement of the discovery of a fossil bird of gigantic size, found in the lower Argile Plastique formation of the Paris region]. C. R. Hebd. Acad. Sci. Paris (in French) 40: 554–557.
Prum RO et al. (6 co-authors) 2015. A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing. Nature doi:10.1038/nature15697
Witmer L and Rose K 1991. Biomechanics of the jaw apparatus of the gigantic Eocene bird Diatryma: Implications for diet and mode of life. Paleobiology. 17 (2): 95–120.
Worthy TH, Degrange FJ, Handley WD and Lee MSY 2017. The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres). Royal Society Open Science 4: 170975. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170975
Wright TF, et al. (ten co-authors) 2008. A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 25 (10), 2141-2156 DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msn160.

https://pterosaurheresies.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/the-origin-of-giant-birds-gastornis-diatryma-the-giant-parrot/

https://pterosaurheresies.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/lrt-sheds-light-on-gastornis-its-a-giant-flightless-parrot/

 

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