Pneumaticity of the dorsal foramen and dorsal sulcus of the sternum in Austalasian Passeriformes

Document Type

Journal Article


British Ornithologists' Club


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Natural Sciences




Fulton, G. R., & Boles, W. E. (2002). Pneumaticity of the dorsal foramen and dorsal sulcus of the sternum in Austalasian Passeriformes. British Ornithologists' Club, 122. 304-311. Available here


The Passeriformes comprise almost 60% on the 9,000-10,000 recent species of birds (Bock & Ferrand 1980, Sibley & Monroe 1990). Songbirds are more widely distributed than any other avian order but aspects of their intra-ordinal classification remains unsettled. Avian systematic have been revitalized in recent years with the increased use of molecular and biochemical techniques (e.g. Christidis & Schodde 1991. Sibley & Ahlquist 1985. 1990). In particular, the classification of the Passeriformes has undergone substantial reorganization (e.g. Sibley & Ahlquist 1985. 1990, Helm-Bychowski & Cracraft 1993; Barker et al. 2002; Ericson et al. 2002). Members of the Passeriformes share a strikingly similar osteological morphology and the identification of subordinal taxa is purportedly extremely difficult, if not impossible, because of this similarity (Olson 1985). Few characters of the postcranial skeleton have been studied in any depth: the best known is the pneumotricipital fossa of the humerus (Bock 1962). Here, an osteological character of the sternum is surveyed and the distribution of its character states examined in light of proposed relationships within the Australasian Passeriformes

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