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The fossil record of birds

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... The timing of the origin of the crown groups of Strigidae and Tytonidae, along with the major groupings within Strigidae and Tytonidae (tribe and generic level clades) within the Neogene, are largely unconstrained (17). That lack of resolution results, in part, from the nature of the owl fossil record with the vast majority of fossils known from isolated and disarticulated elements, although with some more complete fossil material from the Paleogene and Pleistocene (16,(18)(19)(20). The oldest potential members of crown group Strigidae are represented by fragments from early Miocene of Europe (Mammal Neogene [MN] 2 to 3) and North America, and the oldest definitive tytonid fossil is from the middle Miocene (18,21). ...
... That lack of resolution results, in part, from the nature of the owl fossil record with the vast majority of fossils known from isolated and disarticulated elements, although with some more complete fossil material from the Paleogene and Pleistocene (16,(18)(19)(20). The oldest potential members of crown group Strigidae are represented by fragments from early Miocene of Europe (Mammal Neogene [MN] 2 to 3) and North America, and the oldest definitive tytonid fossil is from the middle Miocene (18,21). Fossils allocated to the extant genera Tyto, Asio, Bubo, Strix, Surnia, and Glaucidium and closely related genera are known from a large part of the Neogene (19,22), and that diversity might represent a Neogene radiation of extant owl groupings. ...
... While the fossil record of this group is not rich, extending only into the Pliocene and possibly into the Miocene, two extinct species of Surnia (Surnia capeki and Surnia robusta) are known from the Plio-Pleistocene of Europe and Pliocene of Morocco (26)(27)(28). The oldest records of Glaucidium are similarly from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of North America and Africa (29)(30)(31), those of Athene extend to the early Pliocene (32), and some fossils from the Miocene of Europe may be related to Ninox (18). ...
Article
Significance Owls, with their largely nocturnal habits, contrast strikingly with the vast majority of diurnal birds. A new spectacular late Miocene owl skeleton from China unexpectedly preserves the oldest evidence for daytime behavior in owls. The extinct owl is a member of the clade Surniini, which contains most living diurnal owl species. Analysis of the preserved eye bones documents them as consistent with diurnal birds, and phylogenetically constrained character mapping coincides with a reconstruction of an early evolutionary reversal away from nocturnal habits in this owl group. These results support a potential Miocene origin of nonnocturnal habits in a globally distributed owl group, which may be linked to steppe habitat expansion and climatic cooling in the late Miocene.
... Eocene eogruids show a trend towards reduction in the size of the inner toe as a possible adaptation for cursoriality [152], and later eogruids of the subclade Ergilornithidae take this trend even further, to the point where the inner toe is vestigial or absent [148,152]. This feature led several earlier authors to hypothesize a placement for Eogruidae as stem struthionids [153][154][155]. However, this hypothesis was not widely accepted, and eogruids were generally viewed as representatives of Gruiformes (either as sister to a clade containing Aramidae and Gruidae [156] or sister to Gruidae [149]), implying that the didactyly of some eogruids was convergent with Struthionidae. ...
... Ergilornithids recovered from this formation include Ergilornis rapidus [179], Ergilornis minor [176,179], and Sonogrus gregalis [176] ( Table 2). The partial skull PIN 3110-170 was collected from the latest Eocene Sevkhul member of this formation [6,155]. As the Sevkhul member has produced huge quantities of hindlimb material belonging to Sonogrus gregalis and Ergilornis minor and no other large birds, the skull was presumed to belong to one of the two species [6]. ...
... That the North American Geranoididae may also be struthioniforms has been suggested on several occasions, but unlike Eogruidae no strong evidence for such a placement has yet been found [6,148,155]. Geranoidids share several derived features with Palaeotididae, including an elongated tarsometatarsus, a pronounced extensor sulcus along the dorsal surface of the tarsometatarsus, a proximodistally elongated hypotarsus that forms a long medial crest, and a notched distal rim of the medial condyle of the tibiotarsus [148]. ...
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The extant diversity of the avian clade Palaeognathae is composed of the iconic flightless ratites (ostriches, rheas, kiwi, emus, and cassowaries), and the volant tinamous of Central and South America. Palaeognaths were once considered a classic illustration of diversification driven by Gondwanan vicariance, but this paradigm has been rejected in light of molecular phylogenetic and divergence time results from the last two decades that indicate that palaeognaths underwent multiple relatively recent transitions to flightlessness and large body size, reinvigorating research into their evolutionary origins and historical biogeography. This revised perspective on palaeognath macroevolution has highlighted lingering gaps in our understanding of how, when, and where extant palaeognath diversity arose. Towards resolving those questions, we aim to comprehensively review the known fossil record of palaeognath skeletal remains, and to summarize the current state of knowledge of their evolutionary history. Total clade palaeognaths appear to be one of a small handful of crown bird lineages that crossed the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary, but gaps in their Paleogene fossil record and a lack of Cretaceous fossils preclude a detailed understanding of their multiple transitions to flightlessness and large body size, and recognizable members of extant subclades generally do not appear until the Neogene. Despite these knowledge gaps, we combine what is known from the fossil record of palaeognaths with plausible divergence time estimates, suggesting a relatively rapid pace of diversification and phenotypic evolution in the early Cenozoic. In line with some recent authors, we surmise that the most recent common ancestor of palaeognaths was likely a relatively small-bodied, ground-feeding bird, features that may have facilitated total-clade palaeognath survivorship through the K-Pg mass extinction, and which may bear on the ecological habits of the ancestral crown bird.
... Ostriches are the sole extant birds with only 2 toes, but it is long known that didactyl birds existed in the Cenozoic of Asia (Mecquenem 1908, 1925, Burchak-Abramovich 1951, Kurochkin 1976, 1981, 1982 Figure 1E). These cranesized species were assigned to the taxon Ergilornithidae by earlier authors, who noted close affinities to the Eogruidae from the Eocene and Oligocene of Asia (Kurochkin 1976, 1981, Olson 1985. ...
... The Eogruidae and Ergilornithidae include 7 genera of long-legged birds: the middle and late Eocene Eogrus, the late Eocene Sonogrus, Proergilornis, and Ergilornis, and the Neogene Sinoergilornis, Amphipelargus, and Urmiornis (Olson 1985, Karhu 1997, Mayr 2009, Zelenkov and Kurochkin 2015, Musser et al. 2020. Proergilornis was synonymized with Ergilornis by Kurochkin (1981), but the tarsometatarsi of these taxa are actually quite different: whereas in Proergilornis ( Figure 1D) a trochlea for the second toe is present but reduced in size, this trochlea is absent in Ergilornis, so that we maintain both taxa. ...
... Burchak-Abramovich (1951) first raised the idea that ergilornithids may be closely related to the Struthioniformes. This hypothesis was revisited by a few subsequent authors (Brodkorb 1967, Feduccia 1980, Olson 1985, some of which also supposed that eogruids, ergilornithids, and ostriches originated from the Geranoididae, a group of long-legged birds from the Eocene of North America (Olson 1985). The proposition of close affinities between eogruids, ergilornithids, and ostriches was primarily based on the presence of a didactyl foot in the latter 2 taxa. ...
Article
We describe new fossils from the late Eocene of Mongolia, which show that the crane-like Eogruidae and Ergilornithidae are stem group representatives of the Struthioniformes (ostriches). Currently, both taxa are unanimously assigned to the neognathous Gruiformes (cranes and allies). However, ergilornithids show a progressive reduction of the second toe, and a few earlier authors likened these birds to ostriches, which are the only extant birds with just 2 toes. So far, eogruids and ergilornithids were mainly known from hindlimb bones from the Cenozoic of Asia, and here we provide important new data on the skeletal anatomy of these birds. A partial skull exhibits characteristic features of palaeognathous birds, and ostriches in particular. In its distinctive shape, it furthermore closely resembles the skull of the Eocene palaeognathous Palaeotididae, which are here also considered to be stem group representatives of the Struthioniformes. A femur from the late Eocene of Mongolia likewise corresponds to that of ostriches in derived traits, whereas cervical vertebrae exhibit features of neognathous birds. The fossils suggest that true ostriches (crown group Struthionidae) originated in Asia, and the Neognathae-like morphology of some bones opens a new perspective on the evolution of skeletal characteristics of palaeognathous birds.
... Several studies have revealed skuas to be a recent radiation, with poor congruence between external morphology and genetic relationships (Olson 1985;Furness 1996;Cohen et al. 1997;Andersson 1999a,b;Braun & Brumfield 1998;Chu et al. 2009). We follow Olson (1985), Chu et al. (2009), andRemsen (2013) in placing all skua species in the genus Stercorarius. ...
... Several studies have revealed skuas to be a recent radiation, with poor congruence between external morphology and genetic relationships (Olson 1985;Furness 1996;Cohen et al. 1997;Andersson 1999a,b;Braun & Brumfield 1998;Chu et al. 2009). We follow Olson (1985), Chu et al. (2009), andRemsen (2013) in placing all skua species in the genus Stercorarius. (2007) These phylogenetic studies revealed that noddies (Anous) and then white tern (Gygis) were sister to other members of the family, requiring recognition of four subfamilies, in the sequence Anoinae, Gyginae, Larinae, and Sterninae. ...
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The fifth edition (2022) of the Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand no longer includes birds from Norfolk Island, Macquarie Island, or the Ross Dependency, Antarctica, unless those species also occur in or have reached New Zealand. Since the publication of the 2010 Checklist of the Birds New Zealand, one previously unknown living taxon (a snipe) has been described, an endemic shag has been split into 2 species, 2 endemic subspecies of petrels have been described, and 11 new vagrant species (3 petrels, 1 booby, 1 shag, 1 ibis, 1 sandpiper, 1 gull, 1 pigeon, and 2 passerines) plus one subspecies (a booby) and two named hybrids (a kiwi and a sandpiper) have been accepted as occurring in New Zealand as at Feb. 2022. The Australian little penguin (Eudyptula minor novaehollandiae) has also been recognised as present and breeding in New Zealand, and the American whimbrel (Numenius hudsonicus) is here recognised as a full species. One vagrant species (black falcon Falco subniger) has been removed from the New Zealand list, crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) is now considered to be a failed introduction, and the blue shag (= southern populations of the spotted shag Phalacrocorax punctatus) is no longer recognised as a diagnosable taxon. Royal penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus schlegeli) and Waitaha penguin (Megadyptes antipodes waitaha) are here treated as subspecies rather than full species; and mainland ravens (formerly Corvus antipodum, now Corvus moriorum) are here treated as subspecies of a single species that also occurred on the Chatham Islands, rather than as a full species. The great spotted kiwi (Apteryx maxima) requires this name change, as the type specimens of Apteryx haastii are hybrids between two other species. Eight recently extinct taxa (including two subspecies) have been described or resurrected (2 swans, a duck, 2 penguins, a petrel, a shag, and a parrot), and 30 species that became extinct more than c.
... raemdonckii and P. arvernensis) is still unclear (Olson, 1985) and the age of P. micraulax, which was believed to be the oldest shearwater Isthmus of Panama, as has been observed in other marine organisms (Lessios, 2008;Stange et al., 2018). ...
... This reduction has been hypothesised to be the cause of a threefold increase in the extinction rate of megafauna associated with coastal habitats (Pimiento et al., 2017). In shearwaters, ~36% of the known extinct fossil species are from the Pliocene (Howard, 1971;Olson, 1985;Olson, & Rasmussen, 2001); together with the long stems in the three shearwater genera (Figure 1), this suggests that the Pliocene extinction may have severely affected the group. The subsequent burst of speciation and dispersal could have been associated with late Pliocene and Pleistocene climatic shifts that may have promoted geographical splitting and bottlenecks (Avise & Walker, 1998;Gómez-Díaz et al., 2006). ...
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Aim Palaeoceanographic changes can act as drivers of diversification and speciation, even in highly mobile marine organisms. Shearwaters are a group of globally distributed and highly mobile pelagic seabirds. Despite a recent well-resolved phylogeny, shearwaters have controversial species limits, and show periods of both slow and rapid diversification. Here, we explore the role of palaeoceanographic changes on shearwaters' diversification and speciation. We investigate shearwater biogeography and the evolution of a key phenotypic trait, body size, and we assess the validity of their current taxonomy. Location Worldwide. Taxa Shearwaters (Order Procellariiformes, Family Procellariidae, Genera Ardenna, Calonectris and Puffinus). Methods We generated genomic (ddRAD) data to infer a time-calibrated species tree for the shearwaters. We estimated ancestral ranges and evaluated the roles of founder events, vicariance and surface ocean currents in driving diversification. We performed phylogenetic generalised least squares to identify potential predictors of variability in body size along the phylogeny. To assess the validity of the current taxonomy, we analysed genomic patterns of recent shared ancestry and differentiation among shearwater taxa. Results We identified a period of high dispersal and rapid speciation during the Late Pliocene–early Pleistocene. Species dispersal appears to be favoured by surface ocean currents, and founder events are supported as the main mode of speciation in these highly mobile pelagic seabirds. Body mass shows significant associations with life strategies and local conditions. The current taxonomy shows some incongruences with the patterns of genomic divergence. Main Conclusions A reduction of neritic areas during the Pliocene seems to have driven global extinctions of shearwater species, followed by a subsequent burst of speciation and dispersal probably promoted by Plio-Pleistocene climatic shifts. Our findings extend our understanding on the drivers of speciation and dispersal of highly mobile pelagic seabirds and shed new light on the important role of palaeoceanographic events.
... classified in the genus Pelecanoides; Figure 3). Interestingly, there are more species of WPD birds known from the fossil record than there are extant species, including more than 50 extinct penguins, approximately 35 extinct pan-alcids, two named extinct species of diving petrel, and perhaps as many as 10 species of the entirely extinct plotopterids (Mayr, 2009;Mayr et al., 2015;Ksepka & Ando, 2011;Olson, 1985aOlson, , 1985bSmith, 2011a;Worthy et al., 2007). ...
... Osteological comparisons-Because of their putatively convergent nature, investigations into the osteological similarities of WPD birds have a relatively long history (Howard, 1953(Howard, , 1969Marples, 1952;Olson, 1981Olson, , 1985aOlson, , 1985bOlson & Hasegawa, 1979;Raikow et al., 1988;Smith, 2011aSmith, , 2011bSmith & Clarke, 2012, 2015Storer, 1960;Wang & Clarke, 2014). A review of pertinent literature identified 16 osteological characteristics that, because of their prevalence among well-studied WPD birds such as penguins and pan-alcids, have been previously suggested to be convergent skeletal modifications associated with WPD. ...
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Of the more than 6,000 members of the most speciose avian clade, Passeriformes (perching birds), only the five species of dippers (Cinclidae, Cinclus) use their wings to swim underwater. Among nonpasserine wing‐propelled divers (alcids, diving petrels, penguins, and plotopterids), convergent evolution of morphological characteristics related to this highly derived method of locomotion have been well‐documented, suggesting that the demands of this behavior exert strong selective pressure. However, despite their unique anatomical attributes, dippers have been the focus of comparatively few studies and potential convergence between dippers and nonpasseriform wing‐propelled divers has not been previously examined. In this study, a suite of characteristics that are shared among many wing‐propelled diving birds were identified and the distribution of those characteristics across representatives of all clades of extant and extinct wing‐propelled divers were evaluated to assess convergence. Putatively convergent characteristics were drawn from a relatively wide range of sources including osteology, myology, endocranial anatomy, integument, and ethology. Comparisons reveal that whereas nonpasseriform wing‐propelled divers do in fact share some anatomical characteristics putatively associated with the biomechanics of underwater “flight”, dippers have evolved this highly derived method of locomotion without converging on the majority of concomitant changes observed in other taxa. Changes in the flight musculature and feathers, reduction of the keratin bounded external nares and an increase in subcutaneous fat are shared with other wing‐propelled diving birds, but endocranial anatomy shows no significant shifts and osteological modifications are limited. Muscular and integumentary novelties may precede skeletal and neuroendocranial morphology in the acquisition of this novel locomotory mode, with implications for understanding potential biases in the fossil record of other such transitions. Thus, dippers represent an example of a highly derived and complex behavioral convergence that is not fully associated with the anatomical changes observed in other wing‐propelled divers, perhaps owing to the relative recency of their divergence from nondiving passeriforms.
... Although, whereas the humeral fragment was described first, this one should be considered the holotype. Olson (1985) indicated that this taxon had been Fig. 3 Tarsometatarsi of Tyto balearica from Valdecebro 5 (a-f) and Layna (g-j), in dorsal (a, c, e, g, i) and proximal (b, d, f, h, j) views. Scale bar equals 1 cm based on the humeral fragment, and noted down that the deep fossa musculi brachialis was more like to that seen in the humerus of gulls. ...
... Bocheński (1997) synonymized Totanus Bechstein, 1803with Tringa Linnaeus, 1758. Finally, Mlíkovský (2002 considered Olson's (1985) opinion on the fossa musculi brachialis to be correct, and transferred the taxon to Larus Linnaeus, 1758. However, the fossa musculi brachialis is considerable deeper in Larus, Sterna Linnaeus, 1758 and Gelochelidon CL Brehm, 1830 than in the fossil from Los Mansuetos. ...
Article
Now a long time ago, avian remains from the Vallès-Penedès Basin and from other Miocene localities inaugurated the study of the Neogene birds from Spain. After so much time, it is suitable to review them. Fossils unknown so far of the same or close taxa from the rest of the Iberian Peninsula are also presented in this paper. The majority of species belong to Phasianidae. The present paper participates in a long discussion about the systematic validity of the various fossil species of Tyto described in the European Neogene. A considerable part of such discussion has as focal point Tyto balearica. Apparently, discrepancies have been raised around the size range of this species, although a conviction of the chronological and geographical distributions of this owl, in particular, if it were essentially an insular species, has likely had an unwanted influence on a debate that should be restricted to anatomical aspects.
... Gulls not abundant in fossil record. One early Pliocene (4.5-5.0 million years before present [mybp]) and 2 Pleistocene (0.6-1.8 mybp) North American extinct species named (Brodkorb 1967, Olson 1985. Additional late Neogene records of Larus species from Arizona, California, and N. Carolina (Olson 1985, Bickart 1990, Chandler 1990). ...
... One early Pliocene (4.5-5.0 million years before present [mybp]) and 2 Pleistocene (0.6-1.8 mybp) North American extinct species named (Brodkorb 1967, Olson 1985. Additional late Neogene records of Larus species from Arizona, California, and N. Carolina (Olson 1985, Bickart 1990, Chandler 1990). Larus argentatus not closely related to any of these species. ...
... No other fossil taxa are described in g. Buteo (Olson, 1985;1993). Alcover (1989) reports on Buteo remains from the Late Pliocene (MN zone 17) of lbiza island (Spain) without species determination. ...
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The tеnth fossil species of the genus Buteo, second of W Palearctic, is described by an almost complete left tibiotarsus from the town of Hadzhidimovo (former Blagoevgrad District, Sofia Region), dated MN zone 11-12. Both sites of g. Buteo in W Palearctic (Grive-Saint-Alban in SE France and Hadzidimovo in SW Bulgaria) mark the S-European distribution of Buzzards (g. Buteo) during the Miocene. Diagnosis: A fossil Late Miocene species of g. Buteo, differing from modern B. buteo, B. rufinus and B. lagopus by the sharper proximal edge of pons supratendineus, narrower sulcus extensorius, almost twice larger tuberositas retinaculi m. fibularis, better developed linea intermuscularis on the cranial surface of diaphysis, blunter (without a tip) distal end of symphisis tibio-fibularis, and widther distal epiphysis, settled widther apart edges of sulcus tendineus on the lateral side of distal epiphysis.
... A tibiotarsus is also reported from the same material, with dimensions similar to those of extant G. minutissimum but defined only to genus level. An extinct species described from the Pleistocene of the Bahamas as G. dickinsoni Brodkorb, 1959, by a tibiotarsus, was subsequently (Olson 1985) synonymised with the extant species Speotyto cunicularia (Molina, 1782). The ancestor of the Pygmy Owl was already present in the Eocene. ...
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The authors have defined at the order, subfamily, family or genus level the very fragmentary and small-size bird bone material from the three Pliocene-age sites in southern Hungary (Beremend 26, Csarnóta 2 and 4), which is in the collection of the Museum of the Hungarian Institute of Geology and Geophysics. The non-catalogued bone fragments remaining from the already examined material were identified. The number of taxa identified is 26, of which one species is new to science. The new species ( Pliogallus csarnotanus n. sp.) belongs to a hitherto disputed genus, which is thus recognised through the newly defined material. Of the rest of the material, only Paleocryptonix hungaricus Jánossy, 1991 and Glaucidium baranensis Kessler, 2010 have been identified to species level, the Gallinula, Porzana, Merops, Garrulus, Nucifraga finds to genus level, while the other 18 taxa have been identified only to subfamily or family level (Perdicinae, Columbidae, Alaudidae, Hirundinidae, Panuridae, Paridae, Sittidae, Certhiidae, Muscicapidae, Turdidae, Sylviidae, Motacillidae, Prunellidae, Laniidae, Sturnidae and Fringillidae), or only to order level (Charadriiformes, Coraciiformes).
... Arguments for non-monophyly proposed by Feduccia (1985), Houde and Olson (1981) and Olson (1985) were based on differences among Palaeognathae (i.e. Ratitae and Tinamiformes) and the belief that the defining characters of Palaeognathae are primitive. ...
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Knowledge of the higher-level phylogenetic relationships of birds has grown substantially during the past two decades due to the application of genomic data. However, the nomenclature of higher-level taxa has not become more stable, due to the lack of regulation of taxon names above the level of superfamily by the ICZN, and the usage of rank-based nomenclature, which is not tied to clades in a phylogeny. Lack of regulation and the instability of rank-based nomenclature impede effective communication among systematists. Here we review support for higher-level avian clades using a set of 10 phylogenomic data sets, and identify clades that are supported by congruency of at least four of these. We provide formal definitions of the names of these clades based on the rules of the recently published PhyloCode. The names of 25 clades are here defined using minimum-crown-clade (n = 23), minimum-clade (n = 1) and maximum-crown-clade (n = 1) definitions. Five new names are introduced here: Dinocrypturi, Pteroclimesites, Musophagotides, Phaethoquornithes and Pelecanes. We also review diagnostic apomorphies of the relevant clades, and identify known synonyms and homonyms. By establishing a formal link between higher-level taxon names and well-supported phylogenetic hypotheses, our phylogenetic definitions will provide a solid basis for the stabilization of avian higher-level nomenclature.
... Otro taxón de afinidades inciertas procedente de Cañadón Hondo es Onychopteryx simpsoni, originalmente referido a una nueva familia monotípica, Onychopter-ygidae, e incluida en Opisthocomiformes (Cracraft 1971). No obstante, Brodkorb (1978) y Olson (1985) consideran al espécimen demasiado fragmentario para soportar cualquier vinculación taxonómica con otras aves, criterio seguido por autores posteriores (e.g., Mayr 2011, Mayr y De Petri 2014. ...
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The territory of the Chubut province, Argentina, is one of the richest regions in vertebrate fossils from the Lower and Middle Cenozoic of South America. In many of its classic localities there are several successive fossil levels superimposed and associated with sediments of volcanic origin that allow a precise chronological control. During this (essentially Paleogene) time period, at least two important events occur in the history of vertebrates as part of a worldwide phenomena: (1) an initial radiation and diversity that coincides with the Early Eocene Climate Optimum; (2) a turnover, or at least substantive modifications in the diversity and frequency of many clades, which occurs since the late Eocene and is defined towards the Eocene-Oligocene limit, a coincidentally with the abrupt global cooling event known as "OI-1". Since the beginning of the Miocene, the successive vertebrate faunas (especially continental mammals) express a modern character and, in many cases, a dramatic contrast with those of the Paleogene. For the Eocene-early Miocene period we cite the 513 species of continental vertebrates recognized for Chubut, which are distributed in the following faunal associations: Riochican, "Sapoan", Vacan, Barrancan, Casamayoran, Mustersan, Tinguirirican, Pre-Deseadan, Deseadan, Colhuehuapian, and "Pinturan." We synthesize the most relevant facts associated with the vertebrate fauna of this period of time, in an environmental and evolutionary climatic context. The more than 500 species of vertebrates that are recognized today from different faunas and localities within the Eocene-early Miocene sediments in the province of Chubut, clearly testify to the richness and relevance of these deposits.
... In most cases, fossil pelicans from around the world are represented by at best only a few fragmentary bones (e.g. Olson, 1985). There are few Cenozoic records of pelicans (Pelecanus) from North America, all are very fragmentary and from Neogene and Quaternary strata. ...
Article
The distal end of a humerus from a pelican was found in upper Miocene marine strata in the lower part of the Trinidad Formation near Rancho La Trinidad in Baja California Sur, México. This bone represents the first bird fossil from the Trinidad Formation and the first Neogene record of Pelecanus from México. Not only is this one of the very few fossils of the family Pelecanidae from Neogene strata in North America, but it is also the first record of a pelican from Neogene marine rocks in western North America.
... La familia Pelagornithidae comprende aves de gran tamaño, hoy extintas, caracterizadas por tomias con procesos que asemejan falsos 'dientes', con una envergadura alar de un albatros en las formas más pequeñas y cercana a los 6 metros en las más grandes (Olson, 1985). Restos de esta familia han sido encontrados en esta formación (Chávez et al., 2007), destacando el género Pelagornis. ...
... Other possible explanations include the possibility of discordant topologogies between the real phylogenetic (species tree) and gene trees due to hemiplasy (Avise and Robinson 2008). Obtaining more skeletal elements of P. tourmenti in the future will also help better approaching the morphological aspect of the phylogenetic history of the Gruoidea, since mosaicism between the different elements is also a recurrent aspect of avian evolution (Olson 1985;Mayr 2017). study, acquisition of data, their analysis and interpretation, and manuscript writing; AD realized illustrations. ...
Article
Cranes (Gruidae) have a poor early fossil record, and the oldest ascertained fossils hitherto referred to the family (either as crown or stem-representatives) date back to the early or middle Miocene. Other Gruoidea have an even scarcer fossil record. Psophiidae and Aramidae are virtually unknown as fossils, and other fossil representatives of the Gruoidea are difficult to place. Here, we describe a new fossil that sheds new light on the early history of stem Gruidae, a right coracoid in dorsal view preserved on slab in limestone laminites of the early Oligocene « Calcaires de Campagne-Calavon» (Alpes de Haute Provence, France). It is compared with extant and fossil morphologically related taxa, and appears to differ from all extant and fossil relatives in the Gruoidea. The new fossil represents, among the Gruoidea, a new genus and species, Palaeogeranos tourmenti, placed within the clade (Aramidae + Gruidae) that is referred to as epifamily Gruoidae. Within Gruoidae, placement is tentative and we give arguments leading to propose a possible position as a stem Gruidae, a hypothesis to be tested with further discoveries. In this hypothesis, aged around 30 million years, the new fossil suggests that the stem of the Gruidae would date back to at least the earliest Oligocene, which is still compatible with current molecular phylogenetic divergence dates estimations, given the confidence intervals. Palaeogeranos will potentially help refining future calibrations for molecular phylogenetic studies, at least concerning the earliest Gruoidae (Aramidae + Gruidae).
... The first appearance of Pelagornis comes from the late Oligocene of North America (Mayr et al. 2013;Ksepka 2014), and its latest record is in the late Pliocene of North America and Africa (Mourer-Chauviré & Geraads 2008;Boessenecker & Smith 2011). With the exception of Antarctica, Pelagornis achieved a global distribution during the Neogene (Lartet 1857; Howard & Warter 1969;Olson 1985;Ono 1989;Matsuoka et al. 1998;Stidham 2004;Mourer-Chauviré & Geraads 2008;Mayr & Rubilar-Rogers 2010;Boessenecker & Smith 2011;Fitzgerald et al. 2012;Mayr et al. 2013;Solórzano & Rincón 2015). ...
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In the Sahara Desert of southwestern Morocco, the Aridal Formation of Gueran is known for the world’s richest Bartonian archaic whale assemblage, which includes both protocetids and basilosaurids. Gueran has also yielded another rich and diverse vertebrate fauna described in detail herein —The chondrichthyan assemblage of twelve species is quite similar to that of the Midawara Formation (Egypt). Actinopterygians include Siluriformes, Percomorpha and rostra of Cylindracanthus Leidy, 1856. Turtles are attributed to at least three indetermined species: two marine cryptodires – a cheloniid and a dermochelyid, and a possible littoral pleurodire, as found in Ad-Dakhla (Morocco) and Fayum (Egypt). The crocodylians comprise at least two longirostrine taxa, including a gavialoid that resembles the late Eocene-early Oligocene Eogavialis africanum Andrews, 1901 from Egypt. The second form is too fragmentary to be identified more precisely than Crocodyliformes indet. Two snake vertebrae belong to Pterosphenus cf. schweinfurthi Andrews, 1901. Two other incomplete snake vertebrae probably belong to Paleophiidae as well. Seabird remains belong to a gigantic soaring pseudo-toothed bird (Pelagornithidae) and constitute the earliest occurrence of the genus Pelagornis sp. Lartet, 1857. This material extends the fossil record of Pelagornis back in time by at least 10 million years. Based on their size and enamel microstructure, mammal dental fragments are attributed to the proboscidean ?Barytherium sp. The Bartonian age of the fauna, initially based on an archaeocete cetacean assemblage, is also supported by chondrichthyans. Affinities of the Gueran faunal assemblage are analyzed in comparison with those from other middle and upper Eocene deposits of North Africa and elsewhere.
... Th e fi rst appearance of Pelagornis comes from the late Oligocene of North America (Mayr et al. 2013;Ksepka 2014), and its latest record is in the late Pliocene of North America and Africa (Mourer-Chauviré & Geraads 2008;Boessenecker & Smith 2011). With the exception of Antarctica, Pelagornis achieved a global distribution during the Neogene (Lartet 1857; Howard & Warter 1969;Olson 1985;Ono 1989;Matsuoka et al. 1998;Stidham 2004;Mourer-Chauviré & Geraads 2008;Mayr & Rubilar-Rogers 2010;Boessenecker & Smith 2011;Fitzgerald et al. 2012;Mayr et al. 2013;Solórzano & Rincón 2015). ...
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ABSTRACT In the Sahara Desert of southwestern Morocco, the Aridal Formation of Gueran is known for the world’s richest Bartonian archaic whale assemblage, which includes both protocetids and basilosaurids.Gueran has also yielded another rich and diverse vertebrate fauna described in detail herein —The chondrichthyan assemblage of twelve species is quite similar to that of the Midawara Formation (Egypt). Actinopterygians include iluriformes, Percomorpha and rostra of Cylindracanthus Leidy,1856. Turtles are attributed to at least three indetermined species: two marine cryptodires – a cheloniid and a dermochelyid, and a possible littoral pleurodire, as found in Ad-Dakhla (Morocco) and Fayum (Egypt). Th e crocodylians comprise at least two longirostrine taxa, including a gavialoid that resembles the late Eocene-early Oligocene Eogavialis africanum Andrews, 1901 from Egypt. The second form is too fragmentary to be identifi ed more precisely than Crocodyliformes indet. Two snake vertebrae belong to Pterosphenus cf. schweinfurthi Andrews, 1901. Two other incomplete snake vertebrae probably belong to Paleophiidae as well. Seabird remains belong to a giganticsoaring pseudo-toothed bird (Pelagornithidae) and constitute the earliest occurrence of the genus Pelagornis sp. Lartet, 1857. Th is material extends the fossil record of Pelagornis back in time by at least 10 million years. Based on their size and enamel microstructure, mammal dental fragments are attributed to the proboscidean ?Barytherium sp. Th e Bartonian age of the fauna, initially based on an archaeocete cetacean assemblage, is also supported by chondrichthyans. Affinities of the Gueran faunal assemblage are analyzed in comparison with those from other middle and upper Eocene deposits of North Africa and elsewhere.
... Later Brodkorb (1952) designated a type species for this and other of Lambrecht's taxa, but this does not validate the original genus. Nevertheless, the generic name Miophasianus and binomen Miophasianus medius were used by many authors (Brodkorb, 1964;Ballmann, 1969b;Olson, 1985;Bochenski, 1987Bochenski, , 1997Jánossy, 1993;Göhlich, 2002;Bochenski et al., 2012; see also Mlíkovský 2002 for further references). Ballmann (1969a) specially addressed the systematic position of Miophasianus and compared it with various pheasants, but he did not list any Numididae in his list of comparative materials. ...
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A revision of the avian fauna from the Rudabànya locality (Hungary, late Miocene) is presented. This is one of the few avian faunas dated to the earliest part of the late Miocene (MN 9), and thus is of major importance for understanding the evolution of birds during the Miocene. The current revision confirms the presence of at least 13 taxa, but only three of them can be identified to genus level because of the fragmentary nature of the material. Waterfowls (Anatidae) are represented by three taxa, including possible species of Mioquerquedula. Galliform birds are especially diverse (five taxa). Members of the subfamily Rollulinae are for the first time identified from Europe. Unidentified representatives of Ralliformes and Strigidae are also present. A small passerifom bird, previously described as Certhia janossyi Kessler & Hir, 2012, is characterized by a coracoid with an unusual morphology. This taxon is transferred here to a new genus within the superfamily Sylvioidea. Several other indeterminate passerines are present. The previously identified genera Anas, Palaeortyx, Miorallus, Tringa, Merops, Intulula (Strix), and Sturnus cannot be confirmed. In general, the fauna has a rather archaic composition and shows affinities with the middle Miocene European avian assemblages. Resumen. La avifauna de Rudabànya (Hungría, Mioceno Tardío) revisada. Una revisión de la fauna aviana de la localidad de Rudabànya (Hungría, Mioceno Tardío) es presentada. Esta es una de las pocas faunas avianas datada como procedente de la parte más temprana del Mioceno Tardío (9 MA), siendo de gran importancia para el entendimiento de la evolución de las aves durante el Mioceno. La presente revisión confirma la presencia de al menos 13 taxones, pero solo tres pueden ser identificados a nivel de género, debido la la naturaleza fragmentaria del material. Los patos (Anatidae) están representados por tres taxones, incluyendo posibles especies de Mioquerquedula. Las aves Galliformes son especialmente diversas (cinco taxones). Miembros de la subfamilia Rollulinae son identificados por primera vez para Europa. Representantes indeterminados de Ralliformes y Strigidae están también presentes. Una pequeña ave passeriformes, previamente descripta como Certhia janossyi Kessler & Hir, 2012, es caracterizada por un coracoides con una morfología inusual. Este taxón es transferido aquí a un nuevo género dentro de la superfamilia Sylvioidea. Varios otros passerinos indeterminados están presentes. Géneros previamente identificados, incluyendo Anas, Palaeortyx, Miorallus, Tringa, Merops, Intulula (Strix) y Sturnus no pudieron ser confirmados. En general, la fauna posee una composición arcaica y exhibe afinidades con las asociaciones avianas europeas del Mioceno Medio.
... Later Brodkorb (1952) designated a type species for this and other of Lambrecht's taxa, but this does not validate the original genus. Nevertheless, the generic name Miophasianus and binomen Miophasianus medius were used by many authors (Brodkorb, 1964;Ballmann, 1969b;Olson, 1985;Bochenski, 1987Bochenski, , 1997Jánossy, 1993;Göhlich, 2002;Bochenski et al., 2012; see also Mlíkovský 2002 for further references). Ballmann (1969a) specially addressed the systematic position of Miophasianus and compared it with various pheasants, but he did not list any Numididae in his list of comparative materials. ...
... We used the wider estimate date for the origin of the clade because comparisons of estimates under a total-evidence approach have obtained younger ages than traditional node dating (Ronquist et al., 2012). The fossils (<2.5 Mya) were treated as terminals, with the ages obtained from published literature (Olson, 1985(Olson, , 1977Ripley, 1977) and online databases (http://fossilworks.org/). The analysis was run for 200 million generations using a Birth-Death process and uncorrelated lognormal relaxed clock. ...
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The ability of lineages to disperse over evolutionary timescales may be influenced by the gain or loss of traits after adaptation to new ecological conditions. For example, rails (Aves: Rallidae) have many cases of flightless insular endemic species that presumably evolved after flying ancestors dispersed over large ocean barriers and became isolated. Nonetheless, the details of how flying and its loss have influenced the clade's historical biogeography are unknown, as is the importance of other predictors of dispersal such as the geographic distance between regions. Here, we used a dated phylogeny of 158 species of rails to compare trait-dependent and trait-independent biogeography models in BioGeoBEARS. We evaluated a probabilistic historical biogeographical model that allows geographic range and flight to co-evolve and influence dispersal ability on a phylogeny. The best-fitting dispersal model was a trait-dependent dispersal model (DEC+j +x+t21+m1) that accrued 85.2% of the corrected Akaike Information Criterion (AICc) model weight. The distance-dependence parameter, x was estimated at -0.54, ranging from -0.49 to -0.65 across models, suggesting that a doubling of dispersal distance results in an approximately 31% decrease in dispersal rate (2-0.54 = 0.69). The estimated rate of loss of flight (t21) was similar across all models (∼0.029 loss events per lineage per million years). The multiplier on dispersal rate when a lineage is non-flying, m1, is estimated to be 0.38 under this model. Surprisingly, the estimate of m1 was not 0.0, probably because the loss of flight is so common in the rails that entire clades of flightless species are found in the data, forcing the model to attribute some dispersal to flightless lineages. These results indicate that long-distance dispersal over macroevolutionary timespans can be modelled, rather than simply attributed to chance, allowing support for different hypotheses to be quantified and model limitations to be identified. Overall, by combining new analytical methods with a comprehensive phylogenomic dataset, we use a quantitative framework to show how traits influence dispersal capacity and eventually shape geographical distributions at a macroevolutionary scale.
... Fossil ancestral form, Emphersula aruernensis, from Upper Oligocene (24-26 mybp), and main radiation of Sulidae occurred in Miocene (Olson 1985). No good data on when boobies and gannets diverged, perhaps Miocene (6-24 mybp; Nelson 1978).Earliest examples of the genus Sula occurred in lower Miocene (found in Florida) and show characteristics that separate Sula from Morus, similar in size to Brown Booby (Brodkorb 1963).Fossil sulids found on many Pacific islands (Steadman 1989, Steadman et al. 1990). ...
... Only two previous studies have identified this genus in Pliocene deposits and those were disarticulated remains: a single partial humerus from the early Pliocene of South Africa (Olson, 1985a) and three bones from the early Pliocene of North Carolina, USA (Olson & Rasmussen, 2001). No older fossils of the genus are known (Olson, 1985b). Otherwise only much younger (Holocene) fossils have been documented (e.g., Tennyson, 2020;Worthy & Jouventin, 1999). ...
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We describe a new Procellaria petrel species from the late Pliocene of Taranaki, New Zealand. The new species is most similar morphologically to the White-Chinned Petrel (P. aequinoctialis), Spectacled Petrel (P. conspicillata) and the Westland Petrel (P. westlandica). Compared with those taxa, the new species has a deeper and shorter premaxilla, longer coracoid and shorter wings, while its legs are a similar size. Today, New Zealand is the centre of global diversity of the genus, with four breeding species. This is the first fossil species of Procellaria to be described from New Zealand, attesting to a reasonably long history of this genus in the region.
... La familia Pelagornithidae (Fürbringer, 1888) es un grupo de grandes aves marinas (Mayr et al., 2008) con una distribución global, desde el Paleoceno tardío al Plioceno, en Eurasia, África, las Américas, Antártida, Japón y Nueva Zelandia (e.g., McKee, 1985;Olson, 1985Olson, , 1999Tonni & Tambussi, 1985;Averianov et al., 1991;Matsuoka et al., 1998;Olson & Rasmussen, 2001;Walsh & Hume, 2001;González-Barba et al., 2002;Rincón & Stucchi, 2003;Bourdon, 2005). En América del Sur, existen en tres localidades: en la Formación Bahía Inglesa (norte de Chile) (Chavez & Stucchi, 2002), en el extremo norte de América del Sur en el Mioceno de Venezuela (Rincón & Stucchi, 2005), y en el Perú los primeros hallazgos de la familia Pelagornithidae son mencionados por Muizon & DeVries (1985) en base a restos procedentes del Mioceno de la Formación Pisco (centro sur del Perú) (Chávez et al., 2007). ...
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Las aves fósiles de la familia Pelagornithidae fueron grandes aves marinas planeadoras que habitaron desde el Paleoceno tardío hasta el Plioceno. En este trabajo se estudia la capacidad de vuelo de Pelagornis chilensis, una especie de esa familia. Utilizando la fórmula de sustentación y fórmulas alométricas se demostró que diferentes tipos de velocidades del ave extinta son significativamente mayores a las de Thalassarche chrysostoma, el albatros de cabeza gris, el ave marina actual que más se asemeja morfológicamente al ave extinta. Además, en coherencia con los resultados anteriores, se determinó que la potencia parásita, la potencia inducida, la fuerza muscular y el número de Reynolds de P. chilensis son significativamente mayores que las de T. chrysostoma. El método fue utilizado en el albatros Diomedea exulans para comprobar la cercanía de los valores observados con los calculados y estimar un porcentaje de error. La diferencia obtenida entre estos resultados es de un 2,7%, demostrando la efectividad del método. Finalmente, se estudian las condiciones y forma de vuelo de los grandes albatros y su posible aplicación al vuelo de los Pelagornítidos. Se hipotetiza que por el gran tamaño de las especies estudiadas y por tener una morfología semejante, dichos patrones de vuelo serían similares.
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Havstad and Smith (2019) argue that Lakatos’ “methodology of scientific research programs” (MSRP) is a promising philosophical framework for explaining the perceived empirical success of the hypothesis that birds are maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs, and the perceived empirical failures or stagnation of alternatives to that hypothesis. These conclusions are rejected: Havstad and Smith’s account of the alternative “research programs” inadequately characterizes criticism of the hypothesis that birds are maniraptoran theropods and they neither offer sufficient modifications to MSRP to correct its known difficulties in deriving logically or empirically satisfactory criteria for the assessment and preferential selection of “research programs” from historiographical data, nor proposals to mitigate its tendency to promote confirmation bias and dogmatism. Independent flight loss, an important problem in systematic ornithology with implications for the origin of birds, provides a supplementary demonstration of how the application of MSRP in the present context would tend systematically to mislead investigations of the evolutionary history of birds by promoting an uncritical perspective. Given these difficulties, MSRP is an unacceptable philosophical framework for evaluating alternative hypotheses for the origin of birds.
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The authors have identified the mostly very fragmentary bird fossils from the uncatalogued material of the Hungarian Institute of Geology and Geophysics to the level that the condition of the bones allows. Almost half of the 102 bone pieces (42 fragments) could be completely or partially identified, while the rest (60 fragments represented either by bone fragments or by toe phalanges, claws, mandibles, etc.) could not be identified. The material identified includes taxa previously published and known from the site, but a good number of these are represented by other bones or parts of bones, as in previous publications ( Palaeortyx phasianoides Milne-Edwards, 1869, Palaeocryptonix hungaricus Jánossy, 1991, Porzana † kretzoii Kessler, 2009, Glaucidium † baranensis Kessler, 2010, Apus † baranensis Jánossy, 1977, Lullula † minor Kessler, 2013, Delichon † polgardiensis Kessler, 2013, Riparia † major Kessler, 2013, Sitta † gracilis Kessler, 2013). The taxa identified at order, family or genus level are listed in the main text and complemented by one figure, as well as a rich bibliographic material.
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Resumen: El presente trabajo expone la obra ornitológica y museística de Juan Cuello durante sus más de 50 años de actividad. Se ofrecen detalles de todos sus artículos científicos y obras de divulgación, la mayoría poco conocidos o de difícil acceso, se muestran imágenes de algunos ejemplares de relevancia para la ornitología uruguaya y se exponen algunos materiales de taxidermia de este notable ornitólogo. La presente contribución está dirigida a zoólogos, museólogos, historiadores de ciencias, profesionales, estudiantes e interesados en las aves, y muy especialmente a las futuras generaciones que puedan continuar con algunos de los legados de Juan Cuello. Abstract: This contribution shows the ornithological and museographic work of Juan Cuello during more than 50 years of activity. Details of all his scientific articles and non-technical contributions are offered, many of them little known and difficult to access. Images of some relevant specimens for Uruguayan ornithology are shown and some taxidermy works of this remarkable ornithologist are exposed. This contribution is addressed to zoologists, museologists and science historians, professionals, students and those interested in birds, especially to future generations who may carry on some of Juan Cuello's legacies. Introducción Hace ya casi 3 años de la desaparición de JUAN PABLO CUELLO GALLO (Cañada Grande, Cerro Largo, 22 de junio de 1933-Montevideo, 3 de setiembre de 2019), investigador que nos deja una estupenda obra que, hasta al día de hoy, sigue siendo de utilidad en diferentes ámbitos de la Ornitología nacional e internacional. 2 Publicación Extra (en Línea): Museo Nacional de Historia Natural-Uruguay [Núm. 9 Mucho ha sido expresado sobre su dimensión humana y detalles generales de su trabajo en forma de reseña (MONES 2020, CLARA & ALDABE, 2021). Si bien ha sido reconocida la importancia de su trabajo, no siempre han sido bien conocidos sus aportes en tres diferentes niveles: investigación, educación/divulgación, y actividad curatorial. En función de esto, el objetivo del presente artículo busca divulgar algunos detalles poco conocidos en estos tres niveles, tratando de mantener un alcance exhaustivo y objetivo. Nos vemos, además, motivados por diversos aportes de gran importancia para el conocimiento de la avifauna nacional, incluso Neotropical que nos deja CUELLO, y que representan más de cinco décadas de estudio ornitológico, además de reflejar parte de la historia de la disciplina en Uruguay, y que sin duda involucra diversas instituciones ya desaparecidas (como la Sociedad Taguató y la Sociedad Guazubirá) o algunas en actividad como la Sociedad Zoológica del Uruguay, el Museo Zoológico Dámaso Antonio Larrañaga, y especialmente el Museo Nacional de Historia Natural. De esta manera, guardamos la esperanza que la presente contribución aporte algo a todos los investigadores en disciplinas como la historia de la zoología, y obviamente de la ornitología, la historia de los museos nacionales y los museólogos, los científicos profesionales, los estudiantes y aficionados interesados en las aves, y especialmente para las nuevas generaciones que mantienen la vocación, la pasión por el estudio y el cuidado de los magníficos y singulares seres emplumados. Investigación En relación a la cantidad de años en actividad, la obra édita de CUELLO no fue muy extensa en lo que refiere a la investigación. Seguramente sus asuntos familiares y su intensa dedicación a la museografía, la taxidermia y la elaboración de emprendimientos divulgativos y educativos sobre historia natural le ocupaban un tiempo significativo. Sin embargo, muchas de sus obras de divulgación e investigación siguen vigentes y la intención es dar a conocer con cierto detalle las características de las contribuciones realizadas por el autor. 2022] JONES: Obra de Juan Pablo Cuello 3 Es de destacar que los ejemplares que respaldan la mayoría de los primeros registros para Uruguay se encuentran depositados en la colección de Ornitología del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (a partir de aquí con la sigla MNHN) que se detallan a continuación, pero que muchos fueron inicialmente colectados por miembros de la Sociedad Taguató y la Sociedad Guazubirá, materiales posteriormente ingresados a la colección de MNHN. Las ponderaciones de la importancia de un autor o su obra científica siempre tienen un cierto grado de relatividad, seguramente de imprecisión, incluso de conclusiones absurdas o injustas. Los índices de impacto actuales no aplicarían correctamente a investigadores de épocas sin internet y sin todas las posibilidades de búsqueda de información que contamos en estos días. Sin embargo, acaso uno de los mejores indicadores de la importancia de una obra o artículo de investigación sea el número de citas posteriores realizadas por otros autores. En este sentido, se cotejaron las citas de las diversas obras de J. P. CUELLO en el buscador de Google Scholar (en el que se realizó una depuración de errores del algoritmo y fuentes de los propios autores), fuente de información académica que podríamos considerar universal. Con este mismo fin, consideramos también la obra escrita sobre la totalidad de los taxones conocidos de aves actuales a nivel mundial como es el Handbook of Birds of the World (DEL HOYO et al., 1992-2013; desde aquí como HBW); probablemente la más exhaustiva y completa de los tiempos más recientes. Es justamente en esta obra donde también hacemos un recuento de las citas de los artículos publicados por JUAN CUELLO. No se incluyen aquí sus diversos procesos de revisión y corrección de artículos (por ejemplo ver artículos de Achará digital: https://www.avesuruguay.org.uy/revista-achara/) y guías y manuales de ornitología (algunos ejemplos: revisión de los contenidos relacionados con Uruguay en la famosa guía de campo de NAROSKI &
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The bustard avian family, Otididae, comprises 26 species of medium to very large birds whose diagnostic characteristics include long necks and legs, relatively short bill, powder-down and photoreactive porphyrins at the base of feathers, no uropygial gland, no hind toe and nidifugous young. All species occupy flat and largely open habitats. Traditionally classified within the order Gruiformes based mainly on morphological and behavioural characteristics, the most recent molecular phylogenetic study of birds places bustards in their own order, Otidiformes, forming a separate branch of the bird tree along with their sister clades of Cuculiformes (cuckoos) and Musophagiformes (turacos). The phylogeny of bustards does not seem to be fully resolved and molecular studies carried out in recent years differ in how genera are related and which can be considered basal or derived. Moreover, the lack of information on the behaviour and life history of several species hinders a deeper understanding of the family’s evolutionary relationships. Nevertheless, lek-like polygynous mating systems involving various types of elaborate male displays seem to be the rule, although monogamy has been reported in some species. Information is also incomplete as regards genetic relationships between little bustard Tetrax tetrax populations. Available results indicate no genetic structure among the populations of Western Europe, but a full phylogeography of the species is still awaited.An important factor when building scientific knowledge of a species relates to its position within the broader framework of taxonomy and phylogeny. For this reason, we begin this volume devoted to the little bustard Tetrax tetrax with an overview of the species’s family, its taxonomic status and relationships with other branches of the avian phylogenetic tree, and how the bustard branch itself splits up into different stems representing the 26 species. We also describe the basic biological and ecological features of the bustard family, paying particular attention to certain life history traits and how they relate to each other across species, which may (or may not) help us understand current phylogenetic hypotheses. Unfortunately, the dearth of information on these traits in many species poses considerable obstacles to the pursuit of this task. We finish this chapter by focusing on the branching within our subject species, that is, its phylogeography, or how little bustard populations relate to each other genetically across their range. Again, information on this aspect is still insufficient and needs further study if a scientifically sound global conservation strategy is to be developed.
Chapter
The affinities of the taxa included in the present chapter have long been—and for most parts still are—difficult to resolve. The Opisthocomiformes (hoatzins) remain a phylogenetic enigma and are recovered in disparate positions in different analyses of molecular data. Several other notoriously difficult-to-place taxa, such as the Columbiformes (doves), Musophagiformes (turacos), Cuculiformes (cuckoos), and Otidiformes (bustards), form a clade in analyses of molecular sequences, for which the name Columbaves was proposed. Opisthocomiformes and the taxa of the Columbaves resulted in close proximity to the Strisores (nightjars, swifts, hummingbirds, and allies) in some molecular analyses. The exact interrelationships between these birds are, however, controversially resolved in different analyses, none of which recovered a clade including all of the above taxa. Whereas the fossil record of the Opisthocomiformes and the taxa of the “Columbaves” is very sparse, the Strisores are abundantly represented in various Paleogene fossil sites in Europe and North America. These fossils not only shed light on the evolutionary history of the higher-level taxa they belong to but also show that various groups of the Strisores with a geographically restricted extant range had a much wider distribution in the past.
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Sequence-based analyses do not support the monophyly of diurnal birds of prey, and even though the Cathartidae, Sagittariidae, Pandionidae, and Accipitridae form a clade in these studies, the Falconidae are usually united with the Cariamiformes, Psittaciformes, and Passeriformes. However, a clade including these four taxa is not recovered in all sequence-based analyses, and under some settings, molecular phylogenies supported a sister group relationship between the Cariamiformes and Falconiformes, which conforms much better to the fossil record than a successive branching of Cariamiformes and Falconiformes at the base of the (Psittaciformes + Passeriformes) clade. Not only do the Cariamiformes include raptorial stem group representatives, but there are also fossils of long-legged early Eocene falconiform-like birds, which may constitute a morphological link between the Falconiformes and the Cariamiformes. Early Paleogene fossils of the Falconiformes and Accipitriformes are scarce, with the oldest falconiforms being from the early Eocene of South America, whereas the first records of the Accipitriformes come from the early Eocene of Europe. The Cariamiformes, by contrast, has a fairly extensive fossil record in the Americas and Europe, even though the exact affinities of many taxa remain controversial.
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The three clades discussed in the following are obtained in varying positions in current phylogenetic analyses, and their inclusion in the present chapter is not meant to reflect close affinities. It should be mentioned, however, that some analyses supported a sister group relationship between the Mirandornithes and the Charadriiformes, and others recovered a clade including the Charadriiformes and the Gruiformes. Some extinct taxa of the Gruiformes are well represented, but the Mirandornithes and Charadriiformes have a rather scant early Paleogene fossil record even though various Mesozoic and early Paleogene fossils were identified as flamingos or “transitional Charadriiformes” by earlier authors.
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Galloanseres, the clade including galliform and anseriform birds, is supported by virtually all analyses of different kinds of molecular data and also resulted from analyses of morphological data. A recent study obtained an early Eocene date for the split of galliform and anseriform birds, some 55 million years. However, this divergence estimate is in clear conflict with the fossil record, which includes morphologically disparate stem group representatives of both Galliformes and Anseriformes from deposits of that age (anseriform birds have an even earlier fossil record). Extant Galloanseres are mainly characterized by morphological apomorphies that concern skull features. The postcranial skeleton of extant Galliformes and Anseriformes is quite different, but the morphology of Paleogene stem group Galliformes bridges the morphological gap between the extant taxa. Various ecomorphologically disparate Paleogene taxa were assigned to the Galloanseres. The morphological and ecological diversity within Paleogene Galloanseres, therefore, appears to have been extraordinarily high, including giant flightless ground birds with greatly reduced wings, long-legged filter-feeders, and pelagic taxa with wingspans of 4–5 m.
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Earlier analyses of morphological data recovered the Piciformes or the Coraciiformes as the closest relatives of the Passeriformes, whereas all current molecular data sets congruently support a sister group relationship between the Psittaciformes and the Passeriformes. Parrots and passerines differ in many aspects of their external and internal morphology. Extant Psittaciformes are short-legged, zygodactyl birds with a reversed fourth toe, and as in other zygodactyl birds, the tarsometatarsal trochlea for the fourth toe bears a large accessory trochlea. The long-legged Passeriformes, by contrast, have anisodactyl feet, in which the fourth toe directs forward as it does in most other birds. As already noted in the first edition of this book, the hypothesis of a sister group relationship between the Passeriformes and the Psittaciformes is of particular interest, because the Passeriformes have an extinct sister taxon with zygodactyl feet, the aptly named Zygodactylidae, which are among the more common small arboreal birds in Paleogene sites of the Northern Hemisphere. The distal end of the tarsometatarsus of the Zygodactylidae closely resembles the distal tarsometatarsus of psittaciform birds, which suggests that the stem species of the clade including the Passeriformes and Psittaciformes had parrot-like, zygodactyl feet and that passerines secondarily regained anisodactyl feet in their evolutionary history. Based on these new insights in the evolution of parrots and passerines, some fossil taxa, which were initially identified as stem group representatives of the Psittaciformes, are now considered to be zygodactyl stem group passerines.
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The taxa included in the present chapter form a clade in most current analyses of molecular data. These birds are part of the Anomalogonatae, or “higher land bird assemblage,” of earlier authors and exhibit disparate feeding adaptations and habitat preferences, even though most species are adapted to an arboreal way of living. The representatives of this clade have a comprehensive fossil record in early Eocene fossil localities of the Northern Hemisphere and appear to have been among the first Neornithes, which underwent a radiation in the angiosperm-dominated forested palaeohabitats that evolved after the K/Pg mass extinction. Some of the fossils described in the present chapter furthermore offer insights into the historical biogeography of clades with a restricted extant distribution.
Chapter
The Tinamiformes were long considered to be the sister group of the flightless palaeognathous birds, which were classified as “ratites”. However, current molecular analyses congruently supported a clade including the Tinamiformes, Casuariiormes, and Apterygiformes. Accordingly, flightlessness must have evolved independently within several palaeognathous lineages, as has already been assumed by some earlier authors. The distribution of extant palaeognathous birds is mainly restricted to the Southern Hemisphere, but several fossil taxa were reported from the Paleogene of Europe and North America. Most interesting from an evolutionary point of view are various long-legged, crane-like birds from Eurasia and North America, which are likely to be stem group representatives of the Struthioniformes. Rheiformes and Casuariiformes have a Paleogene fossil record in their current ranges, whereas Paleogene fossils of the Tinamiformes, Dinornithiformes, Apterygiformes, and Aepyornithiformes have not yet been found.
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Many readers will be acquainted with phylogenetic terminology and avian osteology, and it is beyond the scope of the present work to provide an in-depth overview of these topics, each of which could fill a book on its own. For those less familiar with essential terms and definitions, these are outlined in the present chapter, which also introduces major features of the skull and some of the limb and pectoral girdle bones. Current hypotheses on the interrelationships of extant birds are reviewed, which constitute a phylogenetic framework for the study of fossil taxa. In order to set the following chapters on Paleogene birds into a full context, the Mesozoic fossil record of neornithine birds is furthermore discussed and an overview is given of major Paleogene fossil localities.
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There is strong molecular support for a clade including the non-monophyletic “Pelecaniformes” except the Phaethontiformes (tropicbirds), as well as the Sphenisciformes (penguins), Gaviiformes (loons), Procellariiformes (tubenoses), and the taxa of the non-monophyletic “Ciconiiformes”. This “waterbird clade” was termed Aequornithes, and the Phaethontiformes result as close relatives of it in current analyses. The fossil record shows that the Aequornithes have a very long evolutionary history. Stem group representatives of the Sphenisciformes date back to the mid-Paleocene and stem group Procellariiformes may have already existed in the Late Cretaceous. The early evolution of the Aequornithes remains, however, poorly understood. The skeletal morphology of early Eocene stem group representatives of the Threskiornithidae, for example, is markedly different from that of coeval Sphenisciformes, which indicates a long evolutionary separation of the lineages leading to these two taxa already by that time. It is also elusive where the stem species of the Aequornithes occurred, although this may well have been on one of the southern continents.
Article
We report a fossil record of Procellariidae from the Ichijiku Formation (Middle Pleistocene), Kimitsu City in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Although this specimen is a partial sternum, we assign it to Procellariidae based on several of its osteological characteristics, such as the size, shape of the linea intermuscularis, and aspect ratio of the incisurae costales. A few marine birds that are uncommon in the area today, such as an Atlantic auk and an extinct flightless auk (i.e., Alle and Mancalla) have been reported from the Ichuijiku Formation, while the procellariid species are still common in the extant seabird fauna of the area. This new discovery suggests that not only did various marine birds exist around the Kanto area (now part of the Boso Peninsula) in the Middle Pleistocene, but also that it is important to consider about an avian faunal transition between the Pleistocene and the present.
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The Australian pre-Pleistocene fossil record of Accipitridae (eagles, hawks, old-world vultures) comprises one latest Oligocene or early Miocene and one middle Miocene species, each represented by partial bones. Globally, most fossil accipitrids are based on single bones. The recent discovery of an older and considerably more complete accipitrid from late Oligocene sediments in Australia is therefore significant. It is derived from the Pinpa Local Fauna from the Namba Formation at Lake Pinpa, South Australia (~26–24 Ma). The fossil, described as Archaehierax sylvestris gen. et sp. nov., represents a raptor that was larger than the black-breasted buzzard Hamirostra melanosternon but smaller and more gracile than the wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax. Comprehensive morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses resolved Archaehierax as a basal accipitrid, not closely related to any living subfamily and perhaps the sister taxon to all other accipitrids exclusive of elanines. Relatively short wings similar to species of Spizaetus and Spilornis suggest it was adapted for flight within enclosed forests. Additional accipitrid fossils from the Namba Formation, a distal femur and a distal humerus, are incomparable with the holotype of A. sylvestris; they may represent distinct species or smaller individuals of the new taxon. lsid:zoobank.org:pub:6A25C569-3E9F-43B8-AAF8-F36CE405C06E
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The latest Messinian Monticino Quarry fissure fillings, near Brisighella in Italy, are well known for their diverse mammal fauna. Conversely, little is known about other vertebrates from this rich site. beside presenting an overview of the mammals, here we describe fish, amphibian, reptile, and bird remains, identifying three, eight, at least 18, and five taxa, respectively. Some of these represent the oldest occurrences either worldwide (an erycine snake related to Eryx jaculus, Malpolon, and otidids birds) or locally (common toads in the Apennine Peninsula and eremiadine lacertids in Europe, the latter being also the only known occurrence of these lizards in Italy). Altogether, the vertebrate fauna from Monticino Quarry is indicative of a complex palaeoenvironment, which was warm and somehow dry. water bodies were indeed present though, as well as a patchy set of habitats with loose or sandy soils, rocky outcrops, open biotopes, and (even though maybe to a lesser extent) wooded areas. Furthermore, estuarine or lagoonal conditions were likely present near the depositional site. From a palaeobiogeographical point of view, the non-mammal vertebrate assemblage from Monticino Quarry shows considerable Afro-Asian affinities at least for some components. In the context of the Italian late Miocene continental vertebrate assemblages, that of Monticino is remarkably similar to those from the Piedmont basin, especially if compared with the Tusco-Sardinian area, Apulian Platform, Calabrian Arc and Sicily. This is consistent with the palaeobiogeographic scenario defined by mammal assemblages, with northcentral Italy, Tuscany and Sardinia, Apulian Platform, and Calabria and Sicily representing separated bioprovinces.
Article
The Paleogene record of pelicans (Pelecanidae) is represented at present by a single early Oligocene specimen from southeastern France. Here we describe a new pelecanid from the early Priabonian portion of the Birket Qarun Formation within the Wadi Al-Hitan World Heritage Site in Egypt. This specimen, a nearly complete right tibiotarsus, is the first definitive pelecanid recovered from Eocene strata. The tibiotarsus is remarkably similar to those of known Pelecanus species, but sufficiently different to warrant designation as the new genus and species Eopelecanus aegyptiacus. This represents the oldest pelican described to date and extends the pelecanid fossil record by ca. 6 million years.
Article
The fossil bird Dryornis pampeanus Moreno & Mercerat, is reinterpreted after examination of new referred material (humerus, coracoid, fragments of ulna, radius, scapula, sternum and tibiotarsus) from the Pliocene Chapadmalal Formation of Argentina. The current diagnosis is emended in the light of important considerations that cast doubt on the previous attribution of the taxon to condors. The phylogenetic position of D. pampeanus was tested in a series of maximum parsimony analyses that included all seven living Cathartiformes and 207 osteological characters. The phylogenetic analyses placed D. pampeanus as the sister taxon of extant vultures. An estimation of 26 kg for the mass, positions D. pampeanus as the largest cathartiform to have ever lived. The presence of this taxon in both the Monte Hermoso and Chapadmalal Formations not only extends the stratigraphic range of the species, but also supports the idea that they were partially contemporaneous during the early Pliocene. The dependence of the vultures on ephemeral carrion suggests that they have especially large ranges. The sites from which the lectotype and new material were recovered (Monte Hermoso and Chapadmalal, respectively) are only 400 km apart, suggesting that the two sites were at least partly contemporaneous.
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A right carpometacarpus (MLP 10-XII-11-1) from the early Miocene Gaiman Formation was collected in the fossiliferous locality Bryn Gwyn (Chubut Province, Argentina). After extensive comparisons with extinct and extant species, and geometric morphometric analyses, we concluded that it belongs to Procellariidae. It is supported by the presence of sulcus tendineus restricted to the distal half, a small crest belonging to the m. ulnometacarpalis dorsalis scar, notch and tubercle on the ventral rim of trochlea carpalis, a wide fovea carpalis caudalis not proximally delimited, a rounded, shallow, and proximo-cranial fossa supratrochlearis, and pneumatic foramina within the small fovea carpalis caudalis. The geometric morphometric analyses show clear similarities with Procellariidae, and locate MLP-10-XII-11-1 close to Procellaria aequinoctialis, Daption capense and Pterodroma incerta in the dorsal configuration, and to P. incerta and Macronectes giganteus in the ventral one. Also, the dorsal configuration is more conservative within families than the ventral one. Although this carpometacarpus does not present any exclusive character, the combination of characters found in the new fossil is unique, suggesting that MLP 10-XII-11-1 might represent a new genus and species. However, the proposal of a new species must wait until more complete specimens are found.
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Dromornithids are an extinct group of large flightless birds from the Cenozoic of Australia. Their record extends from the Eocene to the late Pleistocene. Four genera and eight species are currently recognised, with diversity highest in the Miocene. Dromornithids were once considered ratites, but since the discovery of cranial elements, phylogenetic analyses have placed them near the base of the anseriforms or, most recently, resolved them as stem galliforms. In this study, we use morphometric methods to comprehensively describe dromornithid endocranial morphology for the first time, comparing Ilbandornis woodburnei and three species of Dromornis to one another and to four species of extant basal galloanseres. We reveal that major endocranial reconfiguration was associated with cranial foreshortening in a temporal series along the Dromornis lineage. Five key differences are evident between the brain morphology of Ilbandornis and Dromornis, relating to the medial wulst, the ventral eminence of the caudoventral telencephalon, and morphology of the metencephalon (cerebellum + pons). Additionally, dromornithid brains display distinctive dorsal (rostral position of the wulst), and ventral morphology (form of the maxillomandibular [V2+V3], glossopharyngeal [IX], and vagus [X] cranial nerves), supporting hypotheses that dromornithids are more closely related to basal galliforms than anseriforms. Functional interpretations suggest that dromornithids were specialised herbivores that likely possessed well-developed stereoscopic depth perception, were diurnal and targeted a soft browse trophic niche.
Article
Discusses the nature of Archaeopteryx with particular reference to bipedalism and flight, and reviews hypotheses on the origin of birds: pseudosuchian origin, ornithischian relationship, crocodilian relationship, and coelurosaurian origin. Concerning the origin of flight, it is probable that feathers originally evolved for their aerodynamic qualities, and that use of feathers for thermoregulation postdated the development of powered flight. Fully-improved bipedal posture appeared relatively late in avian evolution, perhaps not before the Cretaceous. Avian flight is unlikely to have originated in a cursorial-terrestrial biped. Bipedality in birds may originally have been for arboreal leaping rather than for fast running.-P.J.Jarvis
Article
A new species of small owl is described from the Lower Eocene London Clay (Ypresian) of SE England, based on a basal phalanx and the proximal part of a tarsometatarsus. Eostrix vincenti sp. nov. is assigned to the extinct family Protostrigidae of the Strigiformes. It is the earliest Teriary owl described from the Old World.-Author
Article
Unusually well preserved fossil feathers from Lower Cretaceous (Vulanginian-Aptian) claystones at Koonwarra, Victoria, are the oldest (c. 110–125 million years) bird remains yet found in the southern hemisphere. They are among the oldest bird remains known in the world, being antedated only by the toothed Archaeopteryx from the late Jurassic of Bavaria, and being more or less the same age as Gullornis from the Lower Cretaceous of France. The Victorian fossil feathers are evidence for essentially worldwide distribution of birds soon after the beginning of the Cretaceous, if not before. The feathers could conceivably have come from toothed birds.
Article
The name Chandler Bridge Formation is introduced herein for a thin sequence of noncalcareous arenaceous beds that lies disconformably above the Ashley Member (Oligocene) of the Cooper Formation and disconformably below post-Oligocene deposits NW of Charleston, S.C. A diverse fauna of well-preserved whales indicates that the Chandler Bridge is of late Oligocene (Chattian) age.- Authors
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Birds, with their feathers, toothless bills, bipedal locomotion, and flight, form such a well-defined, uniform class, that it is hard to imagine how they were derived from some other stock. On the other hand, they provide the best known interclass transition in the vertebrata. This transitional form is Archaeopteryx, whose skeleton was first recognized in the Jurassic of Bavaria in 1861, only two years after Darwin’s Origin of Species (Darwin, 1859). The timing of this discovery may have contributed to the immense public interest that has developed around the Archaeopteryx specimens. Various authors during this early period tried to relate birds to reptiles and a few championed specific reptilian groups (Huxley, 1867, 1868, 1870). Dinosaurs were suggested very early as potential bird ancestors (Marsh, 1877). This was probably because dinosaurs are largely bipedal reptiles and birds are also bipedal. Relationship has also been suggested with pterosaurs (Owen, 1875, Seeley, 1881); lizards (Petronievics, 1921, 1927, 1950), and mammals (Gardiner, 1982). I do not discuss pterosaurs, lizards, and mammals as possible ancestors because they have never enjoyed serious support as bird relatives and I have not discovered anything to make me think that they deserve any.
Article
Fossils newly discovered in the Paleocene and early Eocene of western North America document some of the oldest birds known from nearly complete skeletons. These were medium-sized carinates with powers of sustained flight but which had a paleognathous palate like that of the flightless ostrich-like birds and the tinamous. The fossils provide additional evidence that the paleognathous palate is probably primitive and therefore should not be cited as a derived character state to define the ostrich-like birds as a monophyletic group.