Schlagwort-Archive: France


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.


edited: 25.12.2019


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. 🙂


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!



[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


edited: 24.07.2019

New Paleocene birds

There is a new paper out in which several new bird remains are described, however, unfortunately without describing any species because these remains are just too fragmentary. The remains themselves descent from the Middle Paleocene of Belgium and from the Late Paleocene of France.

There’s a very small Gastornis sp., a lithornithid, a ralloid, and a unassignable „higher landbird“ all from Belgium, and there are another lithornithid, an pelagornithid, a possible leptosomatiform and a probable cariamaform all from France.

Well, and that’s almost all.



[1] Gerald Mayr; Thierry Smith: New Paleocene bird fossils from the North Sea Basin in Belgium and France. Geologica Belgica 22(1-2): 35-46. 2019


edited: 21.07.2019

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.  




[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


edited: 20.05.2018

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).    


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..  



[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


edited: 19.07.2017