Bullshit from David Peters‘ Website – Eofringillirostrum – a tiny Eocene crake, not a finch

posted on February 11, 2019

Ksepka, Grande and Mayr 2019 describe two Early Eocene congeneric bird species. Eofringillirostrum parvulum (Fig. 1) is from Germany, 47mya. Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi from Wyoming, 52mya.

Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi, E. parvulum (Ksepka, Grande and Mayr 2019; IRSNB Av 128a+b; FMNH PA 793; early Eocene; < 10cm long with feathers) was originally considered a finch and a relative of Pumiliornis, a wren-sized Middle Eocene spoonbill. Here Eofringillirostrum nests as a phylogenetically miniaturized corn crake (below). The rail, Crex, is ancestral to chickens, sparrows, moas and parrots, so Eofringillirostrum probably had a Cretaceous origin. A distinctly long fourth toe  was considered capable of being reversed, but no sister taxa with a similar long toe ever reverse it for perching until, many nodes later, parrots appear.

No, if Mr. Peters would just once actually read the papers he is talking about he would have noticed that no one ever considered these two birds to be finches!

No, again, Pumiliornis is not a spoonbill, no matter how hard Mr. Peters wishes!

The genus Crex is not the ancestor of the abovementioned bird genera! 

Corn crake are not ‘perching birds’.  As we learned earlier, taxa formerly considered members of Passeriformes are a much smaller list in the LRT. Birds capable of perching arise in several clades by convergence.
The corn crake is omnivorous but mainly feeds on invertebrates, the occasional small frog or mammal, and plant material including grass seed and cereal grain. It is not a perching bird, but prefers grasslands

I don’t think that Mr. Peters understands the concept of convergence, however, here he is using it right (more or less), maybe by chance ….

According to the LRT, Eofringillirostrum is not a finch, not a seed eater and not a ‘perching bird’ (in the classic sense, but likely evolved perching by convergence) according to phylogenetic analysis and phylogenetic bracketing.)

Right, it is not a finch – but: no one ever said that except for Mr. Peters …. 

It may very well have been a seed eater – just take a look at its beak, it’s a typical seed-eater beak ….

Why is it not a perching bird in the classic sense? The term >perching bird< is not a strictly scientific one, it just refers to birds that are able to sit on a twig by grabbing it with their toes, so …?


edited: 02.08.2021