Monophyly of the Galloanseres is supported by virtually all molecular analyses of different kinds of data, including DNA-DNA hybridization as well as mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences, and also resulted from analyses of morphological characters ( Sibley and Ahlquist 1990; Mayr and Clarke 2003; Cracraft et al. 2004; Fain and Houde 2004; Ericson et al. 2006; Livezey and Zusi 2007). Morphological apomorphies of this clade mainly concern skull features such as the presence of sessile, i.e., stalkless, basipterygoid processes, long, blade-like retroarticular processes on the mandible, and a derived morphology of the quadrate ( Mickoleit 2004). The postcranial skeleton of extant Galliformes and Anseriformes is quite different, but the plesiomorphic morphology of some Paleogene stem group representatives of the Galliformes bridges the morphological gap between the extant taxa (see later).
Various Paleogene taxa have been assigned to the Galloanseres, which greatly differ in...
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