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Subject:  What's Up With the Hoatzin Date:  1/31/2013  8:13 PM
Author:  NigelGlitter Number:  24152 of 25048

I was reading an article last month and there was a picture of a hoatzin with a cryptic comment about no one knew what it was related to.

The Hoatzin is herbivorous, eating leaves and fruit, and has an unusual digestive system with an enlarged crop used for fermentation of vegetable matter, in a manner broadly analogous to the digestive system of mammalian ruminants.

Okay, so its part cow.

The Hoatzin was originally described by German zoologist Statius Müller in 1776. It is arguably the most enigmatic living bird in regard to its phylogenetic relationships. No satisfying evolutionary hypothesis has been proposed, and the situation has become worse with the availability of DNA sequence data.

Why isn't the Discovery Institute all over this?

More data has probably been analysed for the Hoatzin than for any other non-ratite bird. As can be seen, not even unequivocal distant relatives can be determined. Thus, those that place the Hoatzin into an order of its own, Opisthocomiformes,[2] might express the continuing uncertainty most adequately.

It does make one wonder about separate evolutionary pathways that appear to be similar due to common solutions for common problems. Or, maybe it's that creator guys latest experiment and he got caught.

Either way, I found this one a puzzler. For more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoatzin
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