[CT Birds] Technical question on bird evolution

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Sat Apr 18 11:09:06 EDT 2015

I believe the current thinking is that all living birds radiated off of a different line from any of the "primitive" forms for which there is a fossil record (and likely off a different branch from any known dinosaur).  That is to say their common ancestor is a more ancient and unknown species.  So I believe the answer is that they all are equally related to say Archaeopteryx or Ichthyornis.

See this diagram:

Some say the Palaeognathae (tinamous, ostriches and rheas) are the most "primitive" form, but others feel this is an artificial grouping of dissimilar secondarily flightless birds.   Within the Neognathae (other extant birds) I believe Anseriformes (screamers, ducks, geese and swans) are thought to be closest to the "root" form.


Certainly interested in corrections if I've misinterpreted anything.

Patrick Comins, Meriden

Sent from my iPad

On Apr 18, 2015, at 10:15 AM, Marty via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org<mailto:ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>> wrote:

I just watched an episode of Wild Kratts on PBS about raptors.  The show stated that raptors are direct descendants of dinosaurs due to their characteristics - nothing new there.

My question is - Are raptors the most primitive 'group' of birds and did other groups branched off of them?


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