Neognaths
Temporal range: Late Cretaceouspresent, 72–0 Ma[1][2] Possible early Late Cretaceous origin based on molecular clock[3][4]
Female red junglefowl (Gallus gallus)
House sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Infraclass: Neognathae
Pycraft, 1900
Subgroups

Neognathae (/niˈɒɡnəθ/; from Ancient Greek νέος (néos) 'new, young', and γνάθος (gnáthos) 'jaw') is a clade of birds, called neognaths, within the subclass Neornithes of the class Aves. Neognathae includes the majority of living birds; the exceptions being the tinamous and the flightless ratites, which belong instead to the sister taxon Palaeognathae. There are nearly 10,000 living species of neognaths.

The earliest fossils are known from the very end of the Cretaceous but molecular clocks suggest that neognaths originated sometime in the first half of the Late Cretaceous, about 90 million year ago.[5] Since then, they have undergone adaptive radiation, producing the diversity of form, function, and behavior that exists today. Neognathae includes the order Passeriformes (perching birds), one of the largest orders of land vertebrates, containing some 60% of living birds. Passeriformes is twice as species-rich as Rodentia and about five times as species-rich as Chiroptera (bats), which are the two largest orders of mammals. Neognathae also contains some very small orders, often birds of unclear relationships like the hoatzin.

The neognaths have fused metacarpals, an elongate third finger, and 13 or fewer vertebrae. They differ from the Palaeognathae in features like the structure of their jawbones. Neognathae means "new jaws", but it seems that the supposedly "more ancient" paleognath jaws are among the few apomorphic (more derived) features of the palaeognaths, meaning that the respective jaw structure of these groups is not informative in terms of comparative evolution. A neognath-like palate is however seen in modern basal birds like Ichthyornis.[6]

Taxonomy and systematics

Neognathae was long ranked as a superorder subdivided into orders. Attempts to organise this group further, as in the Conspectus of Charles Lucien Bonaparte, were never accepted by a significant majority of ornithologists. Until the 1980s, there was little subdivision of the Aves in general, and even less of phylogenetic merit. Since then, the availability of massive amounts of new data from fossils (especially Enantiornithes and other Mesozoic birds) and molecular (DNA and protein) sequences allowed scientists to refine the classification. With new groups of neognath orders being verified, the taxonomic rank of the group needed to shift. Most researchers have now employed the unranked taxa of phylogenetic nomenclature.[7]

Neognathae is now universally accepted to subdivide into two lineages, the "fowl" clade Galloanseres and the Neoaves (sometimes called "higher neognaths"). The subdivisions of the latter are still not well resolved, but several monophyletic lineages have been proposed, such as the Mirandornithes, Cypselomorphae, Metaves, and Coronaves. Although groups such as the former two (uniting a few closely related orders) are robustly supported, this cannot be said for the groups Metaves and Coronaves for which there is no material evidence at present, while the Mesozoic record of Neognathae is at present utterly devoid of birds that should have been present if these proposed clades were real.[8]

Systematics

The orders are arranged in a sequence that attempts to follow the modern view on neognath phylogeny. It differs from the widely used Clements taxonomy as well as from the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, combining those elements from each that more modern research agrees with while updating those that are refuted. Most of the changes affect those "higher landbirds" that are sometimes united as near passerines.[9]

Neognathia

Feduccia defined the clade Neognathia as birds whose palatal mobility increased due to the following modifications (Feduccia 1980, 1996):

Relationships

Neognathae cladogram of modern bird relationships based on Braun & Kimball (2021)[10]

Neognathae
Galloanserae

Galliformes (chickens and relatives)

Anseriformes (ducks and relatives)

Neoaves
Mirandornithes

Phoenicopteriformes (flamingos)

Podicipediformes (grebes)

Columbimorphae

Columbiformes (pigeons)

Mesitornithiformes (mesites)

Pterocliformes (sandgrouse)

Passerea

Otidiformes (bustards)

Cuculiformes (cuckoos)

Musophagiformes (turacos)

Gruiformes (rails and cranes)

Charadriiformes (waders and relatives)

Opisthocomiformes (hoatzin)

Caprimulgiformes (swifts, hummingbirds, nightjars and allies)

Ardeae
Eurypygimorphae

Phaethontiformes (tropicbirds)

Eurypygiformes (sunbittern and kagu)

Aequornithes

Gaviiformes[11] (loons)

Austrodyptornithes

Procellariiformes (albatrosses and petrels)

Sphenisciformes (penguins)

Ciconiiformes (storks)

Suliformes (boobies, cormorants, etc.)

Pelecaniformes (pelicans, herons & ibises)

Telluraves
Accipitrimorphae

Cathartiformes (New World vultures)

Accipitriformes (hawks and relatives)

Strigiformes (owls)

Coraciimorphae

Coliiformes (mouse birds)

Cavitaves

Leptosomiformes (cuckoo roller)

Trogoniformes (trogons and quetzals)

Picocoraciae

Bucerotiformes (hornbills and relatives)

Picodynastornithes

Coraciiformes (kingfishers and relatives)

Piciformes (woodpeckers and relatives)

Australaves

Cariamiformes (seriemas)

Eufalconimorphae

Falconiformes (falcons)

Psittacopasserae

Psittaciformes (parrots)

Passeriformes (passerines)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Field, Daniel J.; Benito, Juan; Chen, Albert; Jagt, John W. M.; Ksepka, Daniel T. (March 2020). "Late Cretaceous neornithine from Europe illuminates the origins of crown birds". Nature. 579 (7799): 397–401. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2096-0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 32188952.
  2. ^ De Pietri, Vanesa L.; Scofield, R. Paul; Zelenkov, Nikita; Boles, Walter E.; Worthy, Trevor H. (February 2016). "The unexpected survival of an ancient lineage of anseriform birds into the Neogene of Australia: the youngest record of Presbyornithidae". Royal Society Open Science. 3 (2): 150635. Bibcode:2016RSOS....350635D. doi:10.1098/rsos.150635. PMC 4785986. PMID 26998335.
  3. ^ Kuhl., H.; Frankl-Vilches, C.; Bakker, A.; Mayr, G.; Nikolaus, G.; Boerno, S. T.; Klages, S.; Timmermann, B.; Gahr, M. (2020). "An unbiased molecular approach using 3'UTRs resolves the avian family-level tree of life". Molecular Biology and Evolution: 143. doi:10.1093/molbev/msaa191. PMC 7783168.
  4. ^ Yonezawa, T.; Segawa, T.; Mori, H.; Campos, P. F.; Hongoh, Y.; Endo, H.; Akiyoshi, A.; Kohno, N.; Nishida, S.; Wu, J.; Jin, H.; Adachi, J.; Kishino, H.; Kurokawa, K.; Nogi, Y.; Tanabe, H.; Mukoyama, H.; Yoshida, K.; Rasoamiaramanana, A.; Yamagishi, S.; Hayashi, Y.; Yoshida, A.; Koike, H.; Akishinonomiya, F.; Willerslev, E.; Hasegawa, M. (2016-12-15). "Phylogenomics and Morphology of Extinct Paleognaths Reveal the Origin and Evolution of the Ratites". Current Biology. 27 (1): 68–77. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.10.029. PMID 27989673.
  5. ^ Claramunt, S.; Cracraft, J. (Dec 2015). "A new time tree reveals Earth history's imprint on the evolution of modern birds". Sci Adv. 1 (11): e1501005. Bibcode:2015SciA....1E1005C. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1501005. PMC 4730849. PMID 26824065.
  6. ^ Torres, C.R. et al. (2021) Bird neurocranial and body mass evolution across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: The avian brain shape left other dinosaurs behind. Science Advances, Vol. 7, no. 31, eabg7099. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg7099
  7. ^ Mindell & Brown (2005)
  8. ^ For a draft phylogeny of Neoaves that is based on a review of massive amounts of published sources, and probably rather close to "the real thing", see Mindell et al. (2005)
  9. ^ Mindell et al. (2005)
  10. ^ Braun, E.L. & Kimball, R.T. (2021) Data types and the phylogeny of Neoaves. Birds, 2(1), 1-22; https://doi.org/10.3390/birds2010001
  11. ^ Boyd, John (2007). "NEORNITHES: 46 Orders" (PDF). John Boyd's website. Retrieved 30 December 2017.

References