Musser, G. M. and J. Cracraft. 2019. A new morphological dataset reveals a novel relationship for the Adzebill of New Zealand (Aptornis) and provides a foundation for total evidence neoavian phylogenetics. American Museum Novitates 3927:1-70. https://doi.org/10.1206/3927.1
Abstract: Relationships among Neoaves, a group comprising approximately 95% of all extant birds, are difficult to resolve because of multiple short internodes presumably created by a rapid evolutionary radiation around the K/Pg boundary. This difficulty has plagued both morphological and molecular studies. Compared with molecular studies with extensive taxon and character sampling, morphological datasets have largely failed to provide insight into the phenotypic evolutionary transitions of the neoavian radiation. Extinct neoavian taxa remain an understudied but critical key to resolving relationships among these problematic stem lineages and understanding evolutionary changes in structure and function. Adzebills (Aptornis), some of the most phylogenetically controversial fossil neoavians, are extinct terrestrial birds endemic to New Zealand since at least the early Miocene. Past morphological studies have placed adzebills as a sister taxon to the flightless Kagu of New Caledonia (Rhynochetos jubatus) or to the land- and waterfowl group Galloanseres. Recent molecular studies reveal the Kagu and Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) to be sister taxa, whereas adzebills have been postulated to be within Rallidae (rails, gallinules, and coots) or the sister taxon of Sarothruridae (flufftails) or Ralloidea (finfoots, flufftails, and rails). To better resolve the position of adzebills and begin constructing a fine-scale total evidence phylogenetic dataset for the base of Neoaves, we constructed a new and more comprehensive morphological dataset of 368 discrete osteological characters for 38 extant and two extinct taxa that includes extensive sampling of nearly all neoavian stem lineages. We then combined this dataset with 32 DNA sequences of the slowly evolving nuclear RAG1 and RAG2 genes. Morphological results place adzebills as the sister taxon of trumpeters (Psophia) within core Gruiformes and confirm strong support for a Kagu+Sunbittern sister group (99% bootstrap value). Results for analyses of the combined data were identical, and the adzebill+trumpeter clade was supported by a 99% Bayesian clade credibility value. Although the Kagu+Sunbittern sister group is consistent with recent molecular hypotheses, the adzebill+trumpeter group is novel.
Non-peer-reviewed. Holden-Musser, Mary Ellen, Rimvydas Juškaitis and Grace M. Musser. 2016. Family Gliridae (Dormice). In: Wilson D. E., T. E. Lacher, Jr & R. A. Mittermeier (eds). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 6. Lagomorphs and Rodents I. Barselona, Lynx Edicions, pp. 838–889. https://www.lynxeds.com/product/handbook-of-the-mammals-of-the-world-volume-6/
Summary from www.lynxeds.com: “Rats and mice and their relatives in the order Rodentia make up almost half of the species of mammals. Because of this, we polled our readers and the overwhelming positive response was to produce two volumes treating Rodents. Volume 6 will include all of the families of rodents other than Cricetidae and Muridae, plus the order Lagomorpha, which includes rabbits and pikas. This radiation includes some 35 families, which have spread around the globe, occupying every continent except Antarctica, and countless islands in all major oceans. As usual, the text includes up-to-date information on every species, and each species is illustrated. Each family account includes color photographs documenting a variety of behaviors of these diverse and interesting mammals. This volume also includes a Special Chapter: An overview of rodents, including chapters on morphology, taxonomy, and evolutionary history; why rodents are studied; and tools for studying them.”
Non-peer-reviewed. Holden-Musser, Mary Ellen, Tamás Cserkész and Grace M. Musser. 2017. Family Sminthidae (Birch Mice). In: Wilson D. E., T. E. Lacher, Jr & R. A. Mittermeier (eds). Handbook of the Mammals of the World. Vol. 7. Lagomorphs and Rodents II. Barselona, Lynx Edicions. https://www.lynxeds.com/product/handbook-of-the-mammals-of-the-world-volume-7/
Summary from www.lynxeds.com: Rodents include species that have colonized almost every available habitat on earth, and others that have adapted to human beings and followed them as they also spread across the globe. Volume 7 completes the order Rodentia—which represents arguably the most important order of mammals, both in terms of number of species, and in geographic distribution—covering the families contained in the suborder Myomorpha, including the two largest families, Cricetidae and Muridae. This volume also includes a Special Chapter: Priorities for Conserving the World’s Rodents by Thomas Lacher Jr., Richard Young, Samuel Turvey, Rosalind Kennerley & Nicolette Roach.