Archiv der Kategorie: fossile Vögel

ZPALWr. A/4003

Ich habe hier ja schon mehrfach über oligozäne Vögel mit offenbar brüchigen Gliedmaßen gesprochen ….

Dieser hier ist ein winziges Fossil, bestehend aus einer Platte und deren Gegenplatte (Positivplatte und Negativplatte?), und besteht aus einem einzelnen Fuß, einem ca. 3,6 cm langen, rechten Fuß, an dem obendrein auch nur der erste und der zweite Zeh erhalten geblieben sind.

Dieser Teilfuß wurde mit diversen anderen Vogelformen verglichen und weist die größten Übereinstimmungen mit den Taubenvögeln (Columbiformes) auf, so dass es sich hierbei eventuell tatsächlich um den Fuß einer fossilen Taube handeln könnte – es wäre dies dann die älteste bislang bekannte Taubenform. Die ältesten bis dahin bekannten Taubenfossilien stammen aus dem Miozän bzw. der Grenze zwischen dem Oberoligozän und dem Untermiozän, sie erinnern durchweg an moderne Formen und lassen sich oft auch heutigen Linien innerhalb der Columbiformes zuordnen.

Wie dem auch sei, ZPALWr. A/4003 ist nur in Teilen erhalten, so dass eine genauere Bestimmung erst wirklich möglich ist wenn weitere Funde auftauchen sollten. [1] 

Zeichnung nach: ‚Zbigniew M. Bocheński; Teresa Tomek; Ewa Świdnicka: A columbid-like avian foot from the Oligocene of Poland. Acta Ornithologica 45(2): 233-236. 2010‘

Sollte es sich hierbei tatsächlich um eine echte Taubenform handeln, so lässt sich deren Größe auf etwa 25 cm schätzen.

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Quelle:

[1] Zbigniew M. Bocheński; Teresa Tomek; Ewa Świdnicka: A columbid-like avian foot from the Oligocene of Poland. Acta Ornithologica 45(2): 233-236. 2010

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bearbeitet: 26.12.2020

NT-LBR-014

Die Art wird von den Autoren der Gruppe der Tyrannida zugeordnet, einer Gruppe von suboscinen Passeriformes, die heute ausschließlich in Süd- und mit einigen wenigen Arten auch in Nordamerika verbreitet ist und weist hier die größten Gemeinsamkeiten mit den Schnurrvögeln (Pipridae) auf. [2]

Die Tyrannida haben sich jedoch, so wird vermutet, auf den amerikanischen Kontinenten entwickelt, und zwar so ziemlich ungestört seit wohl bereits ca. 64 Millionen Jahren, also zu Beginn des Paläozän. Demnach wäre die Zuordnung dieses oligozänen Vogels aus Europa zu den Tyrannida doch etwas fraglich. [1]

Vielleicht handelt es sich hierbei um eine komplett ausgestorbene Linie von Pipra-ähnlichen suboscinen Vögeln, die später in Europa durch oscine Arten verdrängt wurden.

Skizze; den Flügel muss ich noch etwas ausbessern, und was das Federhäubchen angeht, das man im Originalfossil sehen kann, hierbei mag es sich einfach um Federn handeln, die zufällig an dieser Stelle abgelagert wurden

Es ist sehr ungewöhnlich, dass NT-LBR-014, trotz seiner äußerst guten Erhaltung, von den Autoren keinen Namen erhalten hat.

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Quelle: 

[1] John Reilly: The Ascent of Birds: how modern science is revealing their story. PELAGIC PUB LTD 2018
[2] Ségolène Riamon; Nicolas Tourment; Antoine Louchart: The earliest Tyrannida (Aves, Passeriformes), from the Oligocene of France. Scientific Reports 10(9776): 1-14. 2020

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bearbeitet: 25.12.2020

Urvogel-Feder

Diese (nicht mehr ganz so) älteste bekannte Feder stammt mit ziemlich großer Wahrscheinlichkeit von dem weltberühmten Urvogel (Archaeopteryx lithographica von Meyer), der tatsächlich aber gar kein wirklicher Vogel im eigentlichen Sinn des Wortes war – aber dies genauer zu erklären überlasse ich Berufs-Paläoornithologen.

Rekonstruktion einer ca. 150 Millionen Jahre alten Feder

Die Feder, bislang erstaunlicherweise einzigartig geblieben, ist etwa 6 cm lang, sie war ziemlich wahrscheinlich sehr dunkel grau bis schwarz gefärbt und stammte wohl aus der Region der Flügeldecken. [1]

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Quelle:

[1] Ryan M. Carney; Helmut Tischlinger; Matthew D. Shawkey: Evidence corrobates identity of isolated fossil feather as a wing covert of Archaeopteryx. Scientific Reports 10: 15593. 2020

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bearbeitet: 15.11.2020

Nahmavis grandei Musser & Clarke

Endlich, endlich beschrieben!

Das dazugehörige Fossil ist schon seit etlichen Jahren bekannt und wurde ursprünglich als Angehöriger der ausgestorbenen Familie Salmilidae aus der Ordnung der Seriemaartigen (Cariamaformes) betrachtet.

Des Weiteren konnte man oft lesen, dass es sich um einen flugunfähigen Vogel mit winzigen Stummelflügeln gehandelt haben muss, schließlich kann man diese Flügelchen ja im Foto ganz gut erkennen … nun, nein, kann man eben nicht, was man hier sieht sind einfach nur etwas ‚unglücklich‘ gewachsene Federn; schaut man genau hin findet sich aber nicht die Spur irgendeines Flügelknochens!

Tatsächlich sind die Vordergliedmaßen des Tieres nach dem Tod bzw. während der Verwesung vollständig abhanden gekommen; sämtliche noch vorhandenen restlichen Teile weisen auf einen normal flugfähigen Vogel hin, er wird also zu Lebzeiten ganz normal ausgebildete Flügel besessen haben..

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Nahmavis grandei, so heißt der Vogel nun, ist ein sehr ursprünglicher Vertreter der Regenpfeiferfamilie (Charadriiformes).

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Referenzen:

[1] Lance Grande: The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time. University of Chicago Press 2013  
[2] Grace Musser; Julia A. Clarke: An exceptionally preserved specimen from the Green River Formation elucidates complex phenotypic evolution in Gruiformes and Charadriiformes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8:559929. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.559929. 2020

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Foto aus: ‚Grace Musser; Julia A. Clarke: An exceptionally preserved specimen from the Green River Formation elucidates complex phenotypic evolution in Gruiformes and Charadriiformes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8:559929. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.559929. 2020‘

(under creative commmons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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bearbeitet: 26.10.2020

Qinornis paleocenica Xue

Mit dem Ende der Kreidezeit starben sämtliche so genannten Nichtvogeldinosaurier (was für ein Wortungetüm) aus, also alles was man landläufig als Dinosaurier bezeichnet aber eben auch sämtliche Vögel, die nicht der einzigen heute noch existierenden Gruppe der Vögel, den Neornithes, zugeordnet werden können.

… oder doch nicht?

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Qinornis paleocenica ist anhand einiger Reste aus dem unteren oder mittleren Paläozän (vor etwa 61 Millionen Jahren) bekannt, die von einem einzelnen Individuum stammen: ein nahezu vollständiger linker Tibiotarsus, Teile des rechten Tibiotarsus sowie ein nahezu vollständiger rechter Tarsometatarsus mit fast allen Zehenknochen. [1]

Diese fossilen Knochen weisen einige Merkmale auf, die man bei heutigen Vögeln so nicht mehr findet, wohl aber bei einigen aus der Kreidezeit; vor allem ist der Tarsometatarsus nicht vollständig verschmolzen, er weist noch einige Riefen auf, wie man sie heutzutage nur noch bei juvenilen, nicht ausgewachsenen Vögeln findet, nicht aber mehr bei erwachsenen.

Laut einiger Experten für fossile Vögel handelt es sich bei dem Fossil aber durchaus um einen ausgewachsenen Vogel, und Qinornis paleocenica mag einer der allerletzten Vertreter einer der vielen kreidezeitlichen Vogelformen sein, die man zwar der Klade Ornithurae zuordnen kann, zu der auch die Neornithes gehören, die aber trotzdem außerhalb der Neornithes stehen. [2]

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Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob die Art wirklich nur drei Zehen hatte, das Fossil bzw. dessen Beschreibung umfasst jedenfalls nur drei.

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Referenzen:

[1] X. Xue: Qinornis paleocenica – a Paleocene bird discovered in China. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 181: 89-93. 1995
[2] Gerald Mayr: The birds from the Paleocene fissure filling of Walbeck (Germany). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 27(2): 394-408. 2007

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bearbeitet: 01.09.2020

Kischinskinia scandens Volkova & Zelkov

This species was described in 2018 based on a distal tarsometatarsal fragment and a distal fragment of a right tibiotarsus from the uppermost Early Miocene sediments of the Tagay locality on the island of Olkhon in Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia.

The single known fragment is most similar to the corresponding bone of the recent Wallcreeper (Tichodromia muraria (L.)), yet still differs sufficiently enough to justify its placement into a distinct, new genus.

The bird reached the size of a recent Wallcreeper and, like that species, had the ability to climb vertical surfaces. [1]

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References:

[1] N. V. Volkova; N. V. Zelenkov: A scansorial passerine bird (Passeriformes, Certhioidea) from the uppermost Lower Miocene of eastern Siberia. Paleontological Journal 52(1): 53-60. 2018

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edited: 25.02.2019

SMNS 59466/19

Hinter diesem Arbeitsnamen verbirgt sich ein winziges Knochenfragment, das distale Ende eines linken Humerus, gerade einmal 0,27 cm hoch und 0,26 cm breit, es stammt aus einer etwa 26 Millionen Jahre alten Fundstätte bei Herrlingen, Baden-Württemberg, Deutschland.

Auch wenn es sich hierbei um das wohl kleinste Fragment handelt, das in Herrlingen gefunden wurde, lässt sich dieses, im Gegensatz zu nahezu allen anderen, zumindest grob einer Gruppe zuordnen, nämlich zu den Euoscines oder Eupasseres, zu denen heute nur noch die Dickichtvögel (Atrichornithidae) und Leierschwänze (Menuridae) Australiens gehören.

Der Vogel wird zu Lebzeiten eine Größe von etwa ca. 9 bis 12,5 cm erreicht haben, je nachdem an welchem Referenzmaterial man sich orientiert.

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References:

[1] Albrecht Manegold: Passerine diversity in the late Oligocene of Germany: earliest evidence for the sympatric coexistence of Suboscines and Oscines.

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edited: 07.05.2020

Winnicavis gorskii Bocheński, Tomek, Wertz, Happ, Bujoczek & Świdnicka

This is the “newest” of the European Oligocene birds with “brittly limbs”, this time only the wingbones are preserved. These are unlike the wingbones of any other passerine bird known so far, extant or extinct.

The bird was small, about the size of a Great Tit (Parus major L.), I will see if I am able to make some kind of reconstruction, whatsoever. [1]

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References:

[1] Zbigniew M. Bocheński, Teresa Tomek, Krzysztof Wertz, Johannes Happ, Małgorzata Bujoczek & Ewa Świdnicka: Articulated avian remains from the early Oligocene of Poland adds to our understanding of Passerine evolution. Palaeontologia Electronica 21(2). 2018

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Let’s have a little update here.

I’ve made a little sketch, based on a Great Tit, however, knowing that this bird was not related to any of the modern Passeriformes, I thought of a little songbird-like creature resembling some of the Australian/Papuan “primitive” songbirds.

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my reconstruction, the bird reached a size of about 15 cm or in other words was indeed about the size of a Great Tit; remember, only the wing bones and some impressions of several wing feathers are known

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edited: 06.04.2020

Remiornis

Remiornis heberti Lemoine, an enigmatic ratite from the upper Paleocene, which might or might not have been related to the recent ostriches.

reconstruction; or rather a sketch of a reconstruction

The bird very likely resembled a stout tinamou and was flightless.

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edited: 25.12.2019

Seltsame Kreidezeit-Füße – Teil 2: DIP-V-15105a/b

DIP-V-15105a und DIP-V-15105b sind zwei Bernsteinfossilien, einmal ein fast vollständig erhaltener Fuß und zum anderen Teile eines Flügels, bzw. dessen Federn, beide gehören ziemlich wahrscheinlich zueinander.

DIP-V-15105a/b erreichte die Größe eines Kolibris, genauer gesagt eines winzigen Kolibris.

Der Fuß (es ist der rechte Fuß) ist interessanterweise bis fast zu den Zehen befiedert, wobei sich hier sogar zwei verschiedene Federformen finden, etwas längere, offenbar bräunlich gefärbte, dicht stehende Federn auf der Fußoberseite sowie vereinzelte, winzige borstenartige Federchen auf den eigentlichen Zehen selbst. 

Dem Fußbau nach zu urteilen war dieser Vogel einem heutigen Baumläufer oder Kleiber vergleichbar, lebte also in den Wipfeln der Bäume und hielt sich bevorzugt an den größeren Ästen und den Stämmen auf wo er auf der Suche nach Insektenbeute schließlich mit dem Fuß in ausgetretenem Baumharz kleben blieb und so einen grausigen Tod fand.  

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Referenzen:

[1] Lida Xing; Ryan C. McKellar; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Ming Bai; Kuowei Tseng; Luis M. Chiappe: A fully feathered enantiornithine foot and wing fragment preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. Scientific Reports 9(129): 1-9. 2019

Rekonstruktion des Fußes; ich habe die Federn in der vermutlichen Originalfarbe wiedergegeben
Rekonstruktion des gesamten Vogels; hier wohlgemerkt in etwa in Lebensgröße – Gummibärchen zum Größenvergleich
meine letzte Rekonstruktion; wenn die Proportionen stimmen erreichte dieses ‚Ding‘ die gigantische Größe von 4 cm, VIER ZENTIMETER!!!

leider habe ich gerade kein Gummibärchen zur Hand …. 

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bearbeitet: 15.12.2019

Seltsame Kreidezeit-Füße – Teil 4: YLSNHM01001

YLSNHM01001 ist ein winziges Bernsteinfossil (ca. 2,5 x 1,8 cm), das Teile eines Vogelfußes bzw. Reste der Haut die diesen Fuß einst umgab, inklusive einer der Fußkrallen sowie Teile der Schwanzfedern umfasst.

Trotz der schlechten Erhaltung steht fest, dass es sich hierbei um einen enantiornithiden Vogel handelt sowie ebenfalls um eine bislang unbekannte Art.

Der Fuß (inklusive der Krallen) hat eine Länge von ca. 1,5 cm. Der vierte Zeh des Fußes ist in seinem Umfang etwa doppelt so groß wie die übrigen Zehen, so weit diese zu erkennen sind. Er erscheint auffällig geschwollen, und eventuell litt dieser Vogel an einer Infektion dieses Zehs. Es ist aber auch möglich, dass es sich hierbei um Verwesungsspuren handelt, worauf auch zahlreiche warzenartig aussehende Blasen hindeuten, die sich entlang der erhaltenen Hautpartien erkennen lassen.

Der Gesamtbau des Fußes lässt darauf schließen, dass YLSNHM01001 ein kleiner insektenfangender Miniaturraubvogel gewesen sein dürfte. [1]

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Referenzen: 

[1] Lida Xing; Ryan C. McKellar; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Kecheng Niu: A mid-Cretaceous enantiornithine foot and tail feather preserved in amber. Scientific Reports 9 (1): 1–8. 2019

YLSNHM01001
Rekonstruktion des Fußes; links: linker Fuß von der linken Körperseite betrachtet, rechts: rechter Fuß von oben betrachtet
Rekonstruktion des gesamten Vogels; er erreicht hier eine Gesamtlänge von ca 22 cm, ist also gar nicht so winzig wie ich ursprünglich gedacht hatte

an den Füßen und den Schwanzfedern muss ich noch mal arbeiten …

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bearbeitet: 13.12.2019

SDSM 64281

SDSM 64281, also known as „Ornithurine C“ is mentioned in a study from 2011 that deals with the extinction of several bird clades at the end of the Cretaceous. [1]

This form is apparently known from at least one fragmented coracoid and comes from a bird that in life must have had a weight of about 3 kg. Unfortunatley the study fails to inform if this form is known from only the aforementioned single coracoid, and if not, if its remains were recovered only from the earliest Paleocene layers or if they were also recovered from the lates Cretaceous layers as it is the case with all other bird remains in the study.:

One of these species, Ornithurine C, is [also or only?] known from the Paleocene and therefore represents the only Maastrichtian bird known to cross the K–Pg boundary.“ 

***

Apparently, this species is known from at least four coracoids or remains of such, and they are named as  „SDSM 64281A“, „SDSM 64281B“, „UCMP 175251“, and  „MOR 2918“ and most are indeed of Late Cretaceous age, but just not all of them.

According to the authors this species might be identical with a species that was named as Graculavus augustus Hope, a bird that apparently belongs to the Charadriiformes but was very much unlike any of the charadriiform birds living today, in life it may have appeared like some kind of giant stone-curlew aka. thick-knee. [2]

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References:

[1] Nicholas R. Longrich; Tim Tokaryk; Daniel J. Field: Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. PNAS 108 (37) 15253-15257. 2011 
[2] Nicholas R. Longrich; Tim Tokaryk; Daniel J. Field: Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. PNAS 108 (37) 15253-15257. 2011. Supplementary Information

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edited: 09.12.2019

FMNH PA789

This is a small bird from the Eocene of Wyoming, USA, it was only about 10 cm long and is so far known from a complete skeleton with most of the feathers preserved as well.

The bird is not yet described but is apparently currently under study, it may turn out to be related to Morsoravis sedilis Bertelli, Lindow, Dyke & Chiappe, and to belong into a new family, probably named the Morsorornithidae or alike, which then again are perhaps somehow related to the mousebird/parrot/songbird ‘orbit’.

The reconstruction shows it while somewhat stretching its left wing, it was ‘fun’ to draw all this wing feathers, and I probably will do that NEVER EVER AGAIN!!!   😉

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A little update here: 

This bird is now apparently included into the genus Morsoravis. [2]

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References:

[1] Lance Grande: The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time. University of Chicago Press 2013
[2] Daniel T. Ksepka; Lance Grande; Gerald Mayr: Oldest finch-beaked birds reveal parallel ecological radiations in the earliest evolution of passerines. Current Evolution 29(4): 657-663. 2019

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edited: 07.12.2019

A very snappy bird with strange trousers – Cruralispennia multidonta Wang et al.

This tiny thing could be called the „Cretaceous Nicobar Pigeon“, it had somewhat elongated neck feathers, the typical short tail, or rather a not-a-tail-at-all tail so typical for many of those strange Cretaceous enantiornithine birds that we now already know.

The strange-feathered creature comes from China, where it lived some 130 Million years ago in the late Early Cretaceous.

The genus name refers to its crural feathers (bird trousers) which are actually found in many birds, but here they are shaped like nothing ever seen before, maybe like a thin sheet of ceratin with a chewed end, or brush-like end, not at all like a feather. The species name again refers to its multi-toothed beak.

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a sketch of which I hope that I can produce a painting from some day ….

The bird reached a size of about 10 to maybe 11 or 12 cm when fully grown. The body feathers appear to have been more hair- than feather-like, and they may have been dark, while those on its neck were somewhat elongated and apparently were even glossy [1] … why not. 

***

Unfortunatly I could not find any plant species from the same place and time.

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References:

[1] Min Wang; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Yanhong Pan; Zhonghe Zhou: A bizarre Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird with unique crural feathers and an ornithuromorph plough-shaped pygostyle. Nature Communications 8: 1-12. 2017

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edited: 19.11.2019

A kingfisher-like bird from Messel – Quasisyndactylus longibrachis Mayr

This tiny bird is thought to be the ancestor of the kingfishers or of the todies, or of both.

Quasisyndactylus longibrachis was very small, only about 10 cm long, its legs were quite long, very much like in today’s todies (Todidae) and its feet were syndactyl (that means two of the toes, toes 3 and 4, are fused together), like those of all known Coraciiformes showing that it was a member of that order.

The species is known from several specimens, some of which also still harbor their feathering, showing that this species had rather roundish wings and a rather long tail.

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References:

[1] G. Mayr: „Coraciiforme“ und „piciforme“ Kleinvögel aus dem Mittel-Eozän der Grube Messel (Hessen, Deutschland). Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Band 205. 1998

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Photo: Ghedoghedo

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

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my reconstruction, following a specimen with well preserved feathers; it’s only a sketch so far

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edited: 05.11.2019; 06.11.2019

Heracles inexpectatus Worthy, Hand, Archer, Scofield & De Pietri

Heracles inexpectatus, the unexpected Hercules, is a fossil parrot from the St. Bathans fossil site in New Zealand, that just has been described. [1]

The species is known from only two remains, or rather remains of remains to be more precicely, these are a partial left tibiotarsus and a partial right tibiotarsus, that’s just all. The species can be reconstructed as having reached a size of around 1 m, making it the largest known parrot species, dead or alive.

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Unfortunately, one of the authors of this remarkable species apparently seem to think that the new find isn’t appetizing enough for the press, so added a „fierce beak“ to the description and is even speculating that this species, because of it’s size, must have been a predatory bird, which, of course, is complete bullshit. 

According to the paper, the species apparently was a member of the Nestoridae, a family of parrots endemic to New Zealand, and within this family its closest relative appears to be the Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus Grey), a strict herbivor. So, I personally have no idea why one of the authors does such silly speculations. 

Whatsoever … there was once a giant parrot rumbling the forests of new Zealand around 19 Million years ago, and that is remarkable enough, at least for me.

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References:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Suzanne J. Hand; Michael Archer; R. Paul Scofield; Vanessa L. De Pietri

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I need to write some kind of update here since the British- but also the German press apparently need to call this new species a “Cannibal” and a “Horror-Papagei”, and even claim that some scientist allegedly has suggested that this parrot was eating its smaller conspecific mates.  

What a big load of shit, let’s say it together: “SHIT!!!” Which fucking scientist, as they claim, has ever said such a bullshit???  

This was, and I bet my left hand for that, a large kakapo, nothing but a harmless, flightless, vegetarian creature, and the press apparently degenerates more and more to a shitpot full of idiots and arseholes.  

Many Thanks!

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edited: 08.08.2019

Perplexicervix microcephalon Mayr

This species was described in 2010, it is known from five or six specimens found in the Messel shale, five of which include cervical vertebrae which again all bear strange small tubercles unknown in any other bird dead or alive.

The bird may or may not be related to the so-called screamers (Anhimidae), it had a quite small head compared to its body and had very large and strong wing bones, thus apparently was good at flying, its feet have short toes which appear to have been somewhat flattened – and my gut feeling tells me that they may have had been webbed ….

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a humble reconstruction, note that I forgot to draw the halluces (big toes) onto the feet

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edited: 07.08.2019

Vanolimicola longihallucis Mayr

This species was described in 2017, it is one of the many birds from the Messel shale, that are somehow related to living ones but on the other hand again … are completely different.  

This one is thought to be related to the Charadriiformes, and it may indeed have been a member of the jacana family (Jacanidae).   

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my reconstruction sketch, which turns out very much jacana-unlike

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BTW: I only recently learned that the age of the Messel shale spans from the upper Early – to the lower Middle Eocene.  

So not every bird from there is from the Middle Eocene.

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edited:

04.08.2019

Eutreptodactylus itaboraiensis Baird & Vickers-Rich

This enigmatic bird from the Late Paleocene of Brazil is known only from a single, broken tarsometatarsus, which, however, apparently can be assigned to the cuckoos.

I cannot say that much about this bird, it appears to have been quite large for a Paleocene bird species, and it may indeed have been a real cuckoo or it may have been something completely different.

***

A little (long overdue) update … since this species is now thought to be closely related to – or even included within the family Gracilitarsidae.

The bird in my reconstruction still is about 15 cm long, about one third larger than Gracilitarsus mirabilis Mayr, the sole known species of its genus.

reconstruction

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edited: 28.07.2019

MNT-11-7952

MNT-11-7952 is a remarkable fossil of an enigmatic bird with an exceptional preservation; imprints of the tail feathers preserved showing a bluish gray hue, the legs and feet still showing traces of their soft tissue.

This, however, is all that’s known so far, the two slabs contain nothing but the arse, sorry, the rump, the legs and the tail feathers.

The feathers are very long and narrow, reminding on the tail feathers of recent mousebirds (Coliiformes), yet the feet appear to be anisodactyl, unlike in any known mousebird, extinct or extant.

sketch of the whole fossil (I missed some of the feathers around the knee of the left leg)
sketch of the left leg

The fossil dates to the Middle Paleocene, thus has an age of 60 to 61 Millions of years, and in my opinion, my indeed be a Coliiform bird.

I’ll try to reconstruct this as much as possible. 🙂

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how this bird may have looked like, almost like a modern mousebird, yet with proportionally somewhat shorter tail feathers

Here is now a little sketchy try to reconstruct that bird, including its nearly 20 cm long tail feathers, it may have reached a total length of about 34 cm, which is very well within the size range of modern mousebirds!

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr; Sophie Hervet; Eric Buffetaut: On the diverse and widely ignored Paleocene avifauna of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France): new taxonomic records and unusual soft tissue preservation. Geological Magazine: 1-13. 2018

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edited: 24.07.2019

Strange feet from the Cretaceous – Part 3

Enantiophoenix electrophyla Cau & Arduini from the Late Cretaceous of Lebanon, roughly the size of a recent European Starling.

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somewhat more than just a sketch, this piece took me some hours

This species is known from parts of a foot and some very few further remains.

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References:

[1] Andrea Cau & Paolo Arduini: Enantiophoenix electrophyla gen. et sp. nov. (Aves, Enantiornithes) from the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian) of Lebanon and its phylogenetic relationships. ATTI della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 149(2): 293-324. 2008

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edited: 14.07.2019

Strange feet from the Cretaceous – Part 1

Elektorornis chenguangi Xing, O’Connor, Chiappe, McKellar, Carroll, Hu, Bai & Lei, a bird from the Cretaceous era described just now.

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just a quick life-sized (!) sketch, gummy bear for size comparison

This bird is known only by a single leg with an unusually elongated middle toe and parts of the wing.

I will come back to that bird somewhat later ….

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References:

[1] Lida Xing; Jingmai K. O’Connor; Luis M. Chiappe; Ryan C. McKellar; Nathan Carroll; Han Hu; Ming Bai; Fuming Lei: A new enantiornithine bird with unusual pedal proportions found in amber. Current Biology 29: 1-6. 2019

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edited: 12.07.2019

… small sketch

Cratoavis cearensis, an enantiornithiform bird from the lower Cretaceous of the extremely interesting Crato Formation in Brazil.

This bird is known from a single specimen that apparently was not fully grown, it was altogether only about 12 cm long (including the tail streamers)!

Yet, I have no idea how large it may have got when fully adult, who knows.

***

The Crato Formation is otherwise known for its numerous plant fossils, many of them angiosperms, so I cannot really decide yet which plant species may fit with this bird, but time will show ….

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edited: 02.04.2019

Finch-like non-finches

Here we have the two species of finch-like passeriform birds that had been described at the beginning of this year, Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi and Eofringillirostrum parvulum, both from the Eocene, the first from North America, the second, smaller species from Europe.

***

Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi Mayr, Ksepka & Grande

This is the larger of the two known species, reaching about 10 cm in length, it also is the older one, having lived in the Early Eocene about 52 Million years ago in what today is Wyoming, USA.

This is what I call a pre-sketch, or a working sketch, it’s just the very first step in reconstructing a fossil bird, in which this particular species is drawn in a simple side-view, usually smaller than life-size.

Eofringillirostrum parvulum Mayr, Ksepka & Grande

This bird may have reached a length of only about 9 cm, it lived in the Middle Eocene of what today is the State of Hesse in Germany.

I sketched it together with a reconstructed infructescence of Volkeria messelensis Smith, Collinson et al., a plant from the family Cyperaceae that was growing around the Messel lake, and whose seeds may indeed have been eaten by this presumably seed-eating bird.

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edited: 05-03.2019

Certhiops rummeli Manegold

Diese Art wurde 2008 beschrieben, so weit ich weiß anhand eines einzigen Knochens, eines vollständig erhaltenen rechten Tarsometatarsus, der immerhin der Überfamilie Certhioidea zugeordnet werden kann, nicht aber einer der rezenten Formen dieser Gruppe (Baumläufer, Mückenfänger, Zaunkönige) 

Meiner Meinung nach ähnelt der einzige bekannte Knochen jedoch am ehesten dem entsrechenden Knochen eines Kleibers.

Der Vogel wird eine Gesamtgröße von etwa 15 cm erreicht haben, war also größer als die meisten Baumläufer und kleiner als ein durchschnittlicher Kleiber.

Es handelt sich hierbei tatsächlich um den (bis jetzt) ältesten bekannten echten Singvogel der in Europa gefunden wurde.  

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Referenzen:  

[1] Albrecht Manegold: Earliest fossil record of the Certhioidea (treecreepers and allies) from the Early Miocene of Germany. Journal of Ornithology 149(2): 223-228. 2008  

Rekonstruktion; die Art erinnerte wohl am ehesten an einen Baumläufer/Kleiber-Mix

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bearbeitet: 25.02.2019

Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr

Pumiliornis means as much as “dwarf bird”, and with that, all has been said.

***

No, not so fast ….

The genus/species was described in 1999 and is, to my knowledge, so far known from three skeletal finds, of which one even contains the remains of its last meal, namely pollen.

All in all, Pumiliornis tessellatus resembled today’s sunbirds (Nectariniidae) or the sunbird-asitys (Eurylaimidae) in being very small and having an elongated beak. Its beak, however, was quite unlike those of the members of the beforementioned two families, it resembled the beak of a plover (Charadriidae), especially its narial opening (nose hole), which was rather slit-like and not round.

Pumiliornis was apparently a flower-visitor that fed on nectar and pollen (as is known from the content of the gut of one specimen), however, it may not have been specialized to that diet and may also have taken insects and other small invertebrates.

The bird was small, very small, in my reconstruction it reaches a length of only 7,5 cm, this size, however, is of course depending on the length of its tail feathers, which unfortunately are not preserved in any of the known specimens. I’ve reconstructed the bird with a rather short tail, which may some day turn out to be completely wrong, who knows.

The feet corresponded to the typical scheme of recent passerine birds, i.e. they have three toes pointed forward and one towards the back. However, the feet appear to have been facultative or semi-zygodactyl, which in turn means, in simple terms, the first toe usually pointed forwards, but could be held backward when needed.

***

The genus/species cannot be assigned to any living bird family, not even an order, but is now known to belong to the extended Passeriformes-orbit, which in addition to the passerine birds also includes the falcons (Falconiformes) and the parrots (Psittaciformes). In fact it is now known to have been a member of the extinct family Psittacopedidae, that apparently also contains other unusual genera like MorsoravisPsittacopes and the recently described, very interesting Eofringillirostrum and probably others too.

***

Finally, it should be mentioned that this bird was not a dwarf spoonbill, as claimed by a certain person.   😉

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr: Pumiliornis tessellatus n. gen. n. sp., a new enigmatic bird from the Middle Eocene of Grube Messel (Hessen, Germany). Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg. 216: 75-83. 1999
[2] Daniel T. Ksepka; Lance Grande; Gerald Mayr: Oldest finch-beaked birds reveal parallel ecological radiations in the earliest evolution of Passerines. Current Biology 29: 1-7. 2019

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edited: 08.02.2019

Hezheng-Fasan – Panraogallus hezhengensis Li et. al.

Der Hezheng-Fasan wurde im Jahr 2018 beschrieben, er war sehr nah mit den heutigen Fasanen verwandt.

Das einzige bisher bekannte Fossil ist bemerkenswert da bei ihm die Trochlea erhalten geblieben ist, was darauf hindeutet, dass der Vogel zu Lebzeiten recht stimmgewaltig gewesen sein muss (ganz wie heutige Fasanenarten)

Rekonstruktion; ich habe allerdings die Sporen vergessen, die beim Fossil sehr gut zu erkennen sind

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Referenzen:

[1] Zhiheng Li; Julia A. Clarke; Chad M. Eliason; Thomas A. Stidham; Tao Deng & Zhonghe Zhou: Vocal specialization through tracheal elongation in an extinct Miocene pheasant from China. Scientific Reports 8(1): 1-12. 2018

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bearbeiten: 02.02.2019

Avian Musings – blog post from January 23, 2019

In his great blog (that I actually – and that’s no lie – look into at least once a week), Paul Cianfaglione writes about many bird-related things, including fine book reviews, very interesting insights into bird anatomy and everything else.

But his latest post is just unbeatable: he did make an extremely close inspection of a bird fossil from Messel that he owns.:

Messel Bird Fossil offers unique feather preservation, and more” from January 23, 2019

***

I personally have never seen close-ups of a bird fossil that are so razor-sharp and detailed!

And his bird shows features not known in any living bird – at least not all of them together in one bird.:

The beak is very big and hooked like the beak of a bird of prey or a owl, and it appears to have had sensory pits, the body feathers appear somewhat hair-like, the wing coverts are fluffy, also probably somewhat like the feather edges of recent owls, and the primaries have extremely strange appendages not known in that way from any other bird, living or extinct, but somewhat reminding on the wings of a waxwing.

What kind of a bird was that?

Well, I could try to do a reconstruction, should I?

take 1: that is just a doodle, maybe I have more time tomorrow to make a complete drawing

Gosh, this is so exciting!   🙂
take 2
take 3

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edited: 27.01.2019

Rapa Nui – the parrots or the parrot?

Well, it seems that I finish this whole Rapa Nui project already in December 2018 ….  

***  

Anyway, let’s just begin with the first one (or two?) of the endemic landbird species that once inhabited Easter Island.  

There were two parrots once …:  

Parrots are represented by a partial quadrate of a very large species (larger than in Nestor, Prosopeia, Eclectus, or any lorikeet; dissimilar from that in neotropical parrots) and digit I, phalanx 2 of the wing (larger than in Vini or Cyanoramphus, smaller than in Nestor or Eclectus; ca. the size in Prosopeia).” [1]  

***  

So far so fine, bat my gut feeling almost screams: “ONE!!!” What if this was a very large species, something like a Rapa Nui equivalent of the New Zealand Kakapo (Strigops habroptila Gray), a big, small-winged and flightless ground-dwelling parrot that inhabited the dense forests of the island, now long gone, searching for fallen fruits of the likewise extinct Rapa Nui Palm (Paschalococos disperta (J. Dransf.)).  

The Rapa Nui Parrot may still have been able to climb smaller trees with the help of its typical parrot beak and its feet, and it certainly was a curious and tame bird and was easily killed off by the first Polynesian discoverers of the island.  

This is my reconstruction, well it’s just a sketch so far, and the bird is still probably too small. 🙂    

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006  

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edited: 10.12.2018

Hurra!

The family Aepyornithidae has finally been revised properly!   🙂

***

Up to 15 species were accepted for some time, after the last revision about 50 years [!] ago, there were only seven species left.:

Aepyornis gracilis Monnier
Aepyornis hildebrandti Burckhardt
Aepyornis maximus Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
Aepyornis medius Milne-Edwards & Grandidier

Mullerornis agilis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier
Mullerornis betsilei Milne-Edwards & Grandidier
Mullerornis rudis Milne-Edwards & Grandidier

***

And now, after the latest revision [1] only four species are left, and one of them is transferred into a new genus.:

Aepyornis hildebrandti Burckhardt
Aepyornis maximus Geoffroy Saint Hilaire

Mullerornis modestus (Milne-Edwards & Grandidier)

Vorombe titan (Andrews)

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References:

[1] James P. Hansford; Samuel T. Turvey: Unexpected diversity within the extinct elephant birds (Aves: Aepyornithidae) and a new identity fort he world’s largest birds. Royal Society Open Science, 2018; 5(9): 181295 DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181295

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edited: 27.09.2018

Psittacopes lepidus Mayr & Daniels

When this tiny creature was first described it was thought to represent some parent form of the parrot order, however, it later [1] was reinvestigated and is now placed near the Passeriformes … near them, not among or in between them!  

My reconstruction is life sized, the bird here is nearly 12 cm long, the feathers, however, are not known, so are completely speculative!  

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr: A reassessment of Eocene parrotlike fossils indicates a previously undetected radiation of zygodactyl stem group representatives of passerines (Passeriformes). Zoologica Scripta 44(6): 587–602. 2015  

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edited: 17.09.2018

Geheimnisvolle Vögel: Teil 1.: Die Familie Sylphornithidae

Hier möchte ich einmal eine Art Fortsetzungs“roman“ beginnen, der sich mit geheimnisvollen, kaum bekannten, rätselhaften Vogelformen beschäftigen soll.

***

Die Familie Sylphornithidae wurde im Jahr 1988 für die Art Sylphornis bretouensis Mourer-Chauviré erstellt, die aus dem oberen Eozän Frankreichs stammt. Weitere Gattungen/Arten wurden später hinzugefügt. [1][2][3][4]

Die Familie umfasst sehr kleine, singvogelähnliche Vögelchen, gehört allerdings zur Ordnung der Spechtvögel (Piciformes) und ist innerhalb dieser Ordnung wahrscheinlich am nächsten mit den rezenten Glanzvögeln (Galbulidae) verwandt. Die Sylphornithidae sind hier nur eine von wahrscheinlich mehreren Familien innerhalb dieser Ordnung, die im Paläogen [Paläozän, Eozän, Oligozän] die Nischen besetzten, die heute von Singvögeln eingenommen werden. [4]

***

Die bislang bekannten Vertreter der Sylphornithidae weisen einen semi-zygodactylen Fussbau auf, das bedeutet, die äußere Zehe konnte je nach Bedarf nach vorn oder nach hinten gedreht werden.

***

Die folgenden Gattungen/Arten werden [von einigen Autoren] zur Familie Sylphornithidae gestellt.:

Palaegithalus cuvieri (Gervais): 1852 als Singvogel beschrieben, Oberes Eozän, Frankreich

Sylphornis bretouensis Mourer-Chauviré: 1988, Oberes Eozän, Frankreich [1]

Eutreptodactylus itaboraiensis Baird & Vickers-Rich: 1997, Oberes Paleozän, Brasilien; diese Art wurde ursprünglich der Familie der Kuckucke (Cuculidae) zugeordnet [2]

Oligosylphe mourerchauvireae Mayr & Smith: 2002, Unteres Oligozän, Belgien [3]

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Palaegithalus cuvieri; Typusexemplar, zu unvollständig um genauer untersucht werden zu können

Georges Cuvier: Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de quadrupèdes : où l’on rétablit les caractères de plusieurs espèces d’animaux que les révolutions du globe paroissent avoir détruites. Paris: Deterville 1812

(public domain)
Palaegithalus cuvieri, diese beiden Exemplare scheinen heute nicht mehr zu existieren

Darstellungen aus: Alphonse Milne-Edwards: Recherches anatomiques et paléontologiques pour servir à l’histoire des oiseaux fossiles de la France. Paris: Victor Masson 1867-1871

(public domain)

***

Es bleibt noch zu erwähnen, dass die Welt im Paläogen einerseits recht ähnlich ausgesehen haben mag wie heutzutage, dass aber viele bekannte Rollen von anderen „Darstellern“ eingenommen wurden, nicht nur bei den Säugern sondern auch bei den Vögeln. Echte Singvögel gab es zu dieser Zeit auf der heutigen Nordhalbkugel noch nicht oder zumindest noch kaum, ihre Nischen wurden von vollkommen anderen Vögeln eingenommen, darunter Verwandte der Hopfe, der Mausvögel, der Papageien oder der Spechtvögel.

Echte Singvögel, die nachweißlich in Australien entstanden, wanderten erst im Laufe des Paläogens ein und konnten sich schließlich zum Ende dieses Zeitalters wirklich etablieren und zu der unfassbaren Anzahl an Arten weiterentwickeln, die wir heute kennen.

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Referenzen:

[1] C. Mourer-Chauviré: Le gisement du Bretou (Phosphorites du Quercy, Tarn-et-Garonne, France) et sa faune des vertebres de l’Eocene superieur; 2. Oiseaux. [Le Bretou locality (Quercy Phosphorites, Tarn-et-Garonne, France) and its late Eocene vertebrate fauna; 2. Birds.]. Palaeontographica Abteilung A 205(1-6): 29-50. 1988
[2] Robert F. Baird; Patricia Vickers-Rich: Eutreptodactylus itaboraiensis gen. et sp. nov., an early cuckoo (Aves: Cuculidae) from the Late Paleocene of Brazil. Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology 21(2): 123-127. 1997
[3] G. Mayr; Richard Smith: Avian remains from the lowermost Oligocene of Hoogbutsel (Belgium). Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belqique, Sciences de la Terre 72: 139-150. 2004
[4] Gerald Mayr: The phylogenetic relationships of the Tertiary Primoscenidae and Sylphornithidae and the sister taxon of crown group piciform birds. Journal of Ornithology 145(3): 188-198. 2004

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geändert: 26.05.2018

Not everyone in the Ice Age was a giant

Plovers Lake Cave [see photo below] in the Gauteng Province of South Africa is known for its tens of thousands of fossils from the Pleistocene era, the remains date from about 1 Ma. to 70000 years.

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Photo: Profberger

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

Among the many fossils is a so-called quadrate of a very small Agapornis sp., closely related to the Rosy-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis (Viellot)), yet very much smaller, reaching a size of only about 12 cm.

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just a neat sketch of some Agapornids

It should be noted that another very small Agapornis sp. Is known from another South African site, but this has been dated tob e about 900000 years older, and furthermore these remains appear to have been lost.

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References: 

[1] Thomas A. Stidham: A small Pleistocene lovebird (Psittacidae: Agapornis) from Plovers lake, South Africa. N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh. 256/1: 123-128. 2010

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edited: 23.05.2018

Palaeotodus emryi Olson

This is just a doodle, or sketch of a Palaeotodus emryi, a rather large tody ancestor from the Early Oligocene of Wyoming, USA.    

This fossil tody was nearly 50% larger, and probably had a somewhat shorter bill and larger wings than the recent species.  

Today, todies are restricted to the Caribbean, where five species, which all more or less look the same, are found on Cuba, on Hispaniola as well as on Jamaica and Puerto Rico.  

It is very strange to see how little these birds have changed during the last 30 Ma. years of their known existence!

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edited: 22.05.2018

Parvigrus pohli Mayr

This not so crane-like little birdie once inhabited in the Early Oligocene, from about 32,5 to 29,5 Ma. years ago, what today is Belgium and France and certainly other parts of Europe as well.

The species reached the size of a smaller chicken, or let’s say of about 35 cm in length in my reconstruction.

The family it belongs to is thought to be most closely related to the limpkins (Aramidae), the cranes (Gruidae) and the trumpeters (Psophidae), and indeed, my reconstruction appears to show a bird that is something in between all of these three families.  

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr: A chicken-sized precursoor from the early Oligocene of France. Naturwissenschaften 92:389-393. 2005
[2] Gerald Mayr: Parvigruidae (Aves, core Gruiformes) from the early Oligocene of Belgium. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 93(1): 77-89. 2012

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edited: 20.05.2018

Morsoravis sedilis Bertelli, Lindow, Dyke & Chiappe

This bird was described in 2010, it was then thought to be somehow related to the Charadriiformes respectively to the Charadriiformes “orbit”, later it was assumed to belong in some kind of relationship with other likewise “well-known” birds like Eocuculus cherpinae (Chandler), or Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr.

The reconstruction shows a tiny bird, some 12 cm long, with a sharp-pointed beak and a quite long neck, such a bird would have needed long tail feathers to stabilize its body – so I just gave it a long tail, cause the feathers are not preserved in the Fur Formation birds.

***

So here is how all begins, some cut-out bone drawings put together, lines made with a pencil etc..:

some puzzling

The final result is a quite life-like bird, maybe I got enough time to make a real painting, with colors and so on ….:

not charadriform-alike at all

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References:

[1] Sara Bertelli; Bent K. Lindow; Gareth J. Dyke; Luis M. Chiappe: A well-preserved ‘charadriform-like’ fossil bird from the Early Eocene Fur Formation of Denmark. Paleontology 53(3): 507-531. 2010
[2] Gerald Mayr: On the osteology and phylogenetic affinitis of Morsoravis sedilis (Aves) from the early Eocene Fur Formation of Denmark. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark 59: 23-35. 2011

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edited: 22.01.2018

‘Neanis’ kistneri (Feduccia)

‘Neanis’ kistneri, the genus name written in quotation marks, because the bird does not belong into the genus Neanis, which otherwise includes a single species, Neanis schucherti Shufeldt, is a probable member of order Piciformes, and may be somewhat related to the family Galbulidae.

The species is known so far from a single, nearly complete skeleton, and, like so many Eocene birds, it was a dwarf.

This, of course, is just a sketch.

A suboscine bird from France

I have talked about the European Oligocene epoch and its birds with brittly limbs before.  

Here’s another such brittle-limbed bird from the early Oligocene of Europe, this one has lost its wings, or at least one wing, literally … it is known from parts of the right wing.  

The most interesting fact in this case is, the bird belonged to a group of birds that are part of the Passeriformes but aren’t songbirds, these are called suboscine birds.  

The whole group of suboscine birds is now restricted to, well, it’s actually occurring worldwide, especially in South America, but it is not found in Europe today.  

The bird appears to have been of similar size to the Sunbird Asities (Neodrepanis spp.), which today inhabit the island of Madagascar (… these are suboscine birds as well, by the way).    

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I made this little drawing of this nameless creature bearing a Neodrepanis sp. in mind, but without specialized features like an elongated beak for nectar-feeding etc..  

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr; Albrecht Manegold: A Small Suboscine-like Passeriform Bird from the Early Oligocene of France / Una Pequeña Ave Paseriforme Tipo Suboscine del Oligoceno Temprano de Francia. The Condor 108(3): 717-720. 2006

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edited: 19.07.2017

A small bird with a ‘large’ name: take 2

Rupelramphastoides knopfi Mayr  

Well, the head appears to have also been found, yet in another specimen, so here’s the reconstruction after measuring the skull.:

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It does not really differ that much from the previous version.: 

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr: A tiny barbet-like bird from the Lower Oligocene of Germany: the smallest species and earliest substantial fossil record of the Pici (woodpeckers and allies). The Auk 122(4): 1-9. 2005 
[2] Gerald Mayr: Avian Evolution: The Fossil Record of Birds and its Paleobiological Significance. Wiley-Blackwell 2016

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edited: 18.07.2017

And yet another sketch …

… this time of Eoalulavis hoyasi Sanz, Chiappe, Perez-Moreno, Buscalioni, Moratalla, Ortega & Poyato-Ariza.

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This probably somewhat semiaquatic bird was described in 1996 from Las Hoyas near the city of Cuenca, Spain.  

The decomposing plant in the background is a cycad, Almargemia dentata (Heer) Florin, from roughly about the same place and time.

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edited: 13.07.2017

Songzia spp.

This genus currently contains two species, which mainly differ by their size, Songzia acutunguis Wang et al. and the slightly smaller Songzia heidangkouensis Hou.

These two species have much in common with the recent species of the rail family, yet may not be related to them, but may be closer to the extinct Messel ‘Rails’, the Messelornithidae, which themselves may or may not be members of the Gruiformes.

~~~

The two Songzia ‘Rails’ are small, sparrow-sized birds, in life they probably inhabited the margins of lakes and other swampy areas.

The picture is just a sketch.

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Feather impressions are not known to my knowledge, however, I thought it would be a good idea to give the bird somewhat elongated tail feathers, since the feather impressions in some messelornithid fossils show that these birds had very long tail feathers.

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Resources:

[1] Min Wang; Gerald Mayr; Jiangyong Zhang; Zhonghe Zhou: Two new skeletons of the enigmatic, rail-like avian taxon Songzia Hou, 1990 (Songziidae) from the early Eocene of China. Alcheringa: An Australian Journal of Palaeontology 36: 487-499. 2012

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edited: 08.01.2017

Kui-Schlüpfer – Kuiornis indicator Worthy et al.

Neuseeland während des unteren Miozän (etwa vor 19 bis 16 Millionen Jahren): ein winziger Kui-Schlüpfer sitzt auf einem blühenden Fuchsienzweig.

Der Kui-Schlüpfer ist der älteste bekannte Vertreter der Neuseelandschlüpfer (Acanthisittidae), einer Vogelfamilie die nur aus Neuseeland bekannt ist. Der Vogel hatte etwa die selben Maße wie der heute lebende Grünstummelschwanz (Acanthisitta chloris (Sparrmann)), einer der einzigen beiden überlebenden Arten dieser Familie; es war also tatsächlich ein winziges Vögelchen.

Die Blüten gehören zu einer miozänen Fuchsienart (Fuchsia antiqua D. E. Lee, Conran, Bannister, U. Kaulfuss & Mildenh.), ihrerseits die älteste bekannte Art ihrer Gattung. Ich wollte sie als baumartige Spezies rekonstruieren, ein bißchen wie die heute in Neuseeland lebende Baumfuchsie (Fuchsia excorticata (J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) L. f.).

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Quellen:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Suzanne J. Hand; Jacqueline M. T. Nguyen; Alan J. D. Tennyson; Jennifer P. Worthy; R. Paul Scofield; Walter E. Boles; Michael Archer: Biogeographical and Phylogenetic Implications of an Early Miocene Wren (Aves: Passeriformes: Acanthisittidae) from New Zealand. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(2): 479-498. 2010 
[2] Daphne E. Lee; John G. Conran; Jennifer M. Bannister; Uwe Kaulfuss; Dallas C. Mildenhall: A fossil Fuchsia (Onagraceae) flower and an anther mass with in situ pollen from the early Miocene of New Zealand. American Journal of Botany 100(10): 2052-2065. 2013

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bearbeitet: 08.01.2017

ISEA AF/JAM1

It seems that the Oligocene epoch in Europe produced a lot of birds with brittly legs, since this nameless thing (ISEA AF/JAM1 is the ‘name’ given to the bones) is the next bird known only from a single leg (the twig-like thing between the drawing and the pen).

It appears to have been related to the Apodiformes or the Upupiformes, and according to my reconstruction may have reached a length of only about 6 cm.

Gosh, I need to use colors again at last!!!

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source:

>Zbigniew M. Bochenski; Teresa Tomek; Ewa Swidnicka: A tiny short-legged bird from the early Oligocene of Poland. Geologica Carpathica 67(5): 463-469. 2016

A small bird with a ‘large’ name

If my reconstruction sketch is reliable, this bird must have reached a length of some 10 to 11 cm, this is in fact quite small.  

The head, however, is not known so far.

This time I decided to made a photo of my drawing rather than a scan since my scanner is a dumbass that makes me angry.

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References:

[1] Gerald Mayr: A tiny barbet-like bird from the Lower Oligocene of Germany: the smallest species and earliest substantial fossil record of the Pici (woodpeckers and allies). The Auk 122(4): 1-9. 2005

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edited: 16.06.2016

Antarktischer Moa?

Die Ratiten (Laufvögel wie Emu, Kasuar, Kiwi, Nandu, Strauß) sind heutzutage aus verschiedenen Teilen der Welt bekannt, aber es ist nur schwer vorstellbar, dass sie einst auch in der Antarktis vorgekommen sein sollen.

Und doch ist dem so.

Die erste Spur, die auf die ehemalige Existenz solcher Vögel hindeutete waren Fußspuren, die ursprünglich der Familie der Terrorvögel (Phorusrhacidae) zugeordnet wurden; die nächste Spur tauchte im Jahr 1994 in Form eines Fragments eines Tarsometatarsus auf, und schließlich im Jahr 2012 kam noch ein Fragment eines Oberkiefer-/-schnabelknochens hinzu, der ziemlich sicher tatiten Ursprungs gewesen sein dürfte.

Basierend aus diesem Oberkieferfragment habe ich den Kopf (und Hals) dieses antarktischen Ratiten rekonstruiert.:

… sieht sehr Moa-ähnlich aus.   🙂  

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Referenzen:

[1] Claudia P. Tambussi; Jorge I. Noriega; Andrzej Gaździcki; Andrzej Tatur; Marcelo A. Reguero; Sergio F. Vizcaino: Ratite bird from the Paleogene La Meseta Formation, Seymour Island, Antarctica. Polish Polar Research 15(1-2): 15-20. 1994
[2] Marcos Cenizo: Review of the putative Phorusrhacidae from the Cretaceous and Paleogene of Antarctica: new records of ratites and pelagornithid birds. Polish Polar Research 33(3): 239-258. 2012

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bearbeitet: 13.06.2016

An Early Oligocene hoopoe-relative

This species obviously was described as Bystreornis brevimetatarsis, however, I have no idea in which paper (not the one mentioned below), and by whom.

Anyway, the bird is so far known from a single leg only, which whose structure indicates that it the bird belonged to the hoopoe family, and which otherwise proves it to have been an exceptional small creature.

This is just a sketch, and I depicted the bird twice the actual size, it may in fact have reached only some 6 cm!

… maybe I got the tarsometatarsus too long?

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References:

[1] Martin Kundrát; Ján Soták; Per E. Ahlberg: A putative upupiform bird from the Early Oligocene of the Central Western Carpathians and a review of fossil birds unearthed in Slovakia. Acta Zoologica 96(4): 45-59. 2015

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edited: 09.06.2016