Non-neotenous origin of the palaeognathous (Aves) pterygoid-palate complex

S.W.S. Gussekloo*, R.G. Bout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies on the phylogeny of modern birds have indicated that the Palaeognathae may not be the most basal group in modern birds, but are derived within the group. This resulted in the revival of the theory that the Palaeognathae have evolved through neoteny from a flying ancestor. Neoteny was also suggested by other authors after finding palaeognath-like characters in neognathous birds after experimentally induced neoteny (neonatal thyroidectomy). In this study, we test whether the most important palaeognathous character, the palaeognathous pterygoid-palate complex (PPC), has indeed evolved through neoteny. We used a numerical method to compare the morphology of the PPC of adult palaeognathous species with the PPC of several stages of development of a neognathous species. The results show that the morphology of the palaeognathous PPC is, in general, very different from ontogenetic stages of the neognathous species, indicating a non-neotenous origin of the palaeognathous PPC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1497
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


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