Dyke, Gareth J., Gulas, Bonnie E. and Crowe, Timothy M.
The suprageneric relationships of galliform birds (Aves, Galliformes): a cladistic analysis of morphological characters
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 137, (2), . (doi:10.1046/j.1096-3642.2003.00048.x).
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Of the basal clades of extant birds (Neornithes) the ‘landfowl’ or galliforms (Aves, Galliformes) are the most speciose. Cladistic analysis of more than 100 morphological characters coded at the generic level for most putative galliform genera confirms that the megapodes (‘mound builders’; Megapodiidae) are the most basal clade within the order. They are followed successively by the curassows, guans and chachalacas (Cracidae), which comprise the sister-group to all other extant Galliformes (i.e. Phasianoidea). Within this large ‘phasianoid’ clade, analyses suggest that the guineafowl (Numididae) are the most basal taxon, although monophyly of this ‘family’ is not strictly supported on the basis of the morphological characters employed. An additional major clade within the phasianoid Galliformes is recovered by this analysis, comprising the traditional groupings of New World quails (Odontophoridae) and Old World quails (‘Perdicini’), yet only monophyly of the former is supported unambiguously by morphological characters. Relationships within the remainder of the phasianoid taxa, including the grouse (Tetraonidae), turkeys (i.e. Meleagris/Agriocharus spp.) as well as other ‘pavonine’ galliforms (i.e. peafowl; Pavo, Afropavo, Rheinardia, Argusianus and Polyplectron spp.) remain largely unresolved on the basis of morphological characters, yet monophyly of the major subdivisions is supported here. Although there are a number of important differences, especially with regard to relationships within the nonquail phasianoids, the results of this morphological phylogenetic (cladistic) analysis are broadly congruent both with traditional classifications and existing molecular hypotheses of galliform phylogenetic relationships
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