• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Review of hesperornithiforms (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Bell, A. and L.M. Chiappe (2022)
The Hesperornithiformes: a review of the diversity, distribution, and ecology of the earliest diving birds
Diversity 14: 267
doi: 10.3390/d14040267

The Hesperornithiformes (sometimes referred to as Hesperornithes) are the first known birds to have adapted to a fully aquatic lifestyle, appearing in the fossil record as flightless, foot-propelled divers in the early Late Cretaceous. Their known fossil record—broadly distributed across the Northern Hemisphere—shows a relatively rapid diversification into a wide range of body sizes and degrees of adaptation to the water, from the small Enaliornis and Pasquiaornis with lesser degrees of diving specialization to the large Hesperornis with extreme morphological specializations. Paleontologists have been studying these birds for over 150 years, dating back to the “Bone Wars” between Marsh and Cope, and as such have a long history of naming, and renaming, taxa. More recent work has focused to varying degrees on the evolutionary relationships, functional morphology, and histology of the group, but there are many opportunities remaining for better understanding these birds. Broad-scale taxonomic evaluations of the more than 20 known species, additional histological work, and the incorporation of digital visualization tools such as computed tomography scans can all add significantly to our understanding of these birds.
Figure 1. Phylogenetic tree of birds, after Bell and Chiappe [17] and Tanaka et al. [18]. Arrows show the alternative placement of Enaliornis and Pasquiaornis recovered by Tanaka et al. [18].

Figure 2. The basic bauplan of a hesperornithiform bird, based off Hesperornis regalis. While the degree of reduction of the forelimb and hindlimb proportions vary across taxa, this overall morphology—characterized by an elongated skull and neck, abbreviated forelimbs, and robust hindlimb with a long pelvis—is typical of all hesperornithiforms. Forelimb girdle shown in blue and hindlimb girdle shown in green.



  • Phylogenetic tree of birds.jpg
    Phylogenetic tree of birds.jpg
    261.2 KB · Views: 6
  • Hesperornis regalis.jpg
    Hesperornis regalis.jpg
    87 KB · Views: 6
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread