A new ornithuromorph (Aves: Ornithothoraces) bird from the Jehol Group indicative of higher-level diversity

The Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 90007, Los Angeles, California
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (Impact Factor: 2.08). 04/2010; 30:311-321.

ABSTRACT Basal Ornithuromorpha, until recently, was one of the most poorly documented segments of early avian evo-lution. The known species diversity of the ornithuromorph clade has increased rapidly with the addition of new discoveries from the Early Cretaceous deposits of northeastern China. Reported in this paper is the discovery of a new bird from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, Liaoning Province, China. The specimen represents a new species, Longicrusavis houi, but bears similarities to Hongshanornis longicresta from the same formation of Inner Mongolia. The two birds are compa-rable in size and share an unusual sigmoid mandible and elongate hindlimbs relative to their forelimbs. Together these taxa represent a clade (Hongshanornithidae, new taxon) of specialized 'shorebirds' whose elongate hindlimbs indicate ecological adaptations different from those of other Jehol ornithuromorphs. Phylogenetic relationships of Mesozoic birds are discussed based on the results of a comprehensive cladistic analysis. New morphological information on Ornithuromorpha is provided through the detailed description of the new taxon together with new information on Hongshanornis.

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    ABSTRACT: We report on a new species of basal ornithuromorph bird, Piscivoravis lii gen. et sp. nov., based on a well-preserved and nearly complete specimen from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation in western Liaoning Province, northeastern China. The new specimen preserves several unique anatomical features previously unreported in Early Cretaceous ornithuromorphs, such as a robust furcula with strongly tapered omal tips, a broad sternum without craniocaudal elongation and large and strongly curved manual unguals. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that Piscivoravis is more derived than Archaeorynchus, but in a basal polytomy with Jianchangornis, Patagopteryx, and the clade including all more derived ornithuromorphs. The preserved wing and tail feathers provide new information on feather diversity and evolution in Early Cretaceous ornithuromorphs. The preservation of fish bones ventral to the dentary and in the stomach provides direct evidence that the new species was piscivorous – previously only reported in Yanornis, and as in some living birds, was capable of moving food bidirectionally through the alimentary canal.
    Historical Biology 09/2014; · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of Hongshanornis longicresta, a small ornithuromorph bird with unusually long hindlimb proportions, was followed by the discovery of two closely related species, Longicrusavis houi and Parahongshanornis chaoyangensis. Together forming the Hongshanornithidae, these species reveal important information about the early diversity and morphological specialization of ornithuromorphs, the clade that contains all living birds. Here we report on a new specimen (DNHM D2945/6) referable to Hongshanornis longicresta that contributes significant information to better understand the morphology, trophic ecology, and aerodynamics of this species, as well as the taxonomy of the Hongshanornithidae. Most notable are the well-preserved wings and feathered tail of DNHM D2945/6, which afford an accurate reconstruction of aerodynamic parameters indicating that as early as 125 million years ago, basal ornithuromorphs had evolved aerodynamic surfaces comparable in size and design to those of many modern birds, and flight modes alike to those of some small living birds.
    PeerJ. 01/2014; 2:e234.
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT A new Late Cretaceous avian taxon, Parvavis chuxiongensis, gen. et sp. nov., is reported here based on an incomplete skeleton from Upper Cretaceous lake deposits in Yunnan Province, southern China. A phylogenetic analysis of 32 taxa and 242 morphological characters resulted in three most parsimonious trees, the strict consensus tree of which places Parvavis chuxiongensis within Enantiornithes. Histological study shows that the bones of Parvavis were composed of parallel-fibered bone tissue without lines of arrested growth, and indicated that growth rate had slowed but had not stopped at any stage prior to death. The bones also lack the rough surface texture seen in juvenile birds. Therefore, the new bird was probably close to adult body size at the time of death. However, the specimen is surprisingly small, highlighting the wide range of body sizes in Upper Cretaceous enantiornithines. The new specimen also represents both the first known bird from the Upper Cretaceous of China and the first Mesozoic bird from the south of China, and thus extends the temporal and geographic range of Mesozoic birds in China. SUPPLEMENTAL DATA?Supplemental materials are available for this article for free at
    Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 01/2014; 34(1):135-145. · 2.08 Impact Factor

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