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New bird remains from the early Eocene Nanjemoy Formation of Virginia (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Netherlands
Gerald Mayr, Vanesa De Pietri & R. Paul Scofield, 2021

New bird remains from the early Eocene Nanjemoy Formation of Virginia (USA), including the first records of the Messelasturidae, Psittacopedidae, and Zygodactylidae from the Fisher/Sullivan site

Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleobiology. in press.
doi:10.1080/08912963.2021.1910820

ABSTRACT and FREE PDF:

We report new avian remains from the early Eocene Nanjemoy Formation of the Fisher/Sullivan site in Virginia, USA. The fossil material includes the first records of the Messelasturidae, Psittacopedidae, and Zygodactylidae from the Nanjemoy Formation, with these taxa being widespread and fairly common in coeval North American and European sites. Psittacopedidae and Zygodactylidae are stem group representatives of the Passeriformes, and a tibiotarsus assigned to the Psittacopedidae is unusual in that it lacks a supratendinal bridge (this bridge is, however, also absent in the psittacopedid taxon Pumiliornis). We further report more material of the Charadriiformes and corroborate a previous tentative referral of a tarsometatarsus to the Parvicuculidae. It is noted that this latter bone is likewise very similar to the tarsometatarsus of the Fluvioviridavidae, which indicates close affinities between the two higher-level clades. Because of the comparatively small extent of the new avian material, it is remarkable that it includes a comparatively high number of fossils that represent previously unknown taxa. This supports the hypothesis that early Eocene avifaunas featured a high taxonomic diversity, but that higher-level clades showed low species richness. We hypothesise that this may indicate low rates of cladogenetic diversification in a rather homogenous paleoenvironment.

Enjoy,

Fred
 
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