Osteological evidence for sister group relationship between pseudo-toothed birds (Aves: Odontopterygiformes) and waterfowls (Anseriformes)
The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct pseudo-toothed birds have remained controversial. Some authors noted that they resemble both pelicans and allies (Pelecaniformes) and tube-nosed birds (Procellariiformes), but assigned them to a distinct taxon, the Odontopterygiformes. In most recent studies, the pseudo-toothed birds are referred to the family Pelagornithidae inside the Pelecaniformes. Here, I perform a cladistic analysis with five taxa of the pseudo-toothed birds including two undescribed new species from the Early Tertiary of Morocco. The present hypothesis strongly supports a sister group relationship of pseudo-toothed birds (Odontopterygiformes) and waterfowls (Anseriformes). The Odontoanserae (Odontopterygiformes plus Anseriformes) are the sister group of Neoaves. The placement of the landfowls (Galliformes) as the sister taxon of all other neognathous birds does not support the consensus view that the Galloanserae (Galliformes plus Anseriformes) are monophyletic.