Schlagwort-Archive: Psittacopedidae

Bullshit from David Peters‘ Website – Eofringillirostrum – a tiny Eocene crake, not a finch

posted on February 11, 2019

Ksepka, Grande and Mayr 2019 describe two Early Eocene congeneric bird species. Eofringillirostrum parvulum (Fig. 1) is from Germany, 47mya. Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi from Wyoming, 52mya.

Eofringillirostrum boudreauxi, E. parvulum (Ksepka, Grande and Mayr 2019; IRSNB Av 128a+b; FMNH PA 793; early Eocene; < 10cm long with feathers) was originally considered a finch and a relative of Pumiliornis, a wren-sized Middle Eocene spoonbill. Here Eofringillirostrum nests as a phylogenetically miniaturized corn crake (below). The rail, Crex, is ancestral to chickens, sparrows, moas and parrots, so Eofringillirostrum probably had a Cretaceous origin. A distinctly long fourth toe  was considered capable of being reversed, but no sister taxa with a similar long toe ever reverse it for perching until, many nodes later, parrots appear.

No, if Mr. Peters would just once actually read the papers he is talking about he would have noticed that no one ever considered these two birds to be finches!

No, again, Pumiliornis is not a spoonbill, no matter how hard Mr. Peters wishes!

The genus Crex is not the ancestor of the abovementioned bird genera! 

Corn crake are not ‘perching birds’.  As we learned earlier, taxa formerly considered members of Passeriformes are a much smaller list in the LRT. Birds capable of perching arise in several clades by convergence.
The corn crake is omnivorous but mainly feeds on invertebrates, the occasional small frog or mammal, and plant material including grass seed and cereal grain. It is not a perching bird, but prefers grasslands

I don’t think that Mr. Peters understands the concept of convergence, however, here he is using it right (more or less), maybe by chance ….

According to the LRT, Eofringillirostrum is not a finch, not a seed eater and not a ‘perching bird’ (in the classic sense, but likely evolved perching by convergence) according to phylogenetic analysis and phylogenetic bracketing.)

Right, it is not a finch – but: no one ever said that except for Mr. Peters …. 

It may very well have been a seed eater – just take a look at its beak, it’s a typical seed-eater beak ….

Why is it not a perching bird in the classic sense? The term >perching bird< is not a strictly scientific one, it just refers to birds that are able to sit on a twig by grabbing it with their toes, so …?

*********************

edited: 02.08.2021

Just some bullshit found on David Peters‘ website ….

This was posted on David Peters’ website on June 6, 2018.:

Pumiliornis tesellatus [sic] is a wren-sized (shown larger than actual size) Messel pit bird that was originally (Mayr 1999) considered an enigma and later (Mayr 2008) allied with cuckoos. In the large reptile tree (LRT, 1225 taxa) tiny Pumiliornis nests with Platalea, the spoonbill (Fig. 2) as a phylogenetic miniature, close to, but not quite related to the parallel, short-legged genesis of ducks and geese.

I’m not quite sure what this “short-legged genesis” is supposed to be, but the length of the legs does not indicate any relationships between birds but has much more to do with their way of life!

Presbyornis, currently at the base of ducks, still has long legs and a long neck. More derived taxa in the duck branch lose their long legs, although some, like the swan and goose, retain a long neck.

What does that have to do with the genus Pumiliornis or with spoonbills?

Pumiliornis tessellatus (Mayr 1999, 2008; 6cm long; middle Eocene). This wren-sized relative to spoonbills and ancestor to ducks has a spatulate beak tip. This is a neotonous [sic] form of the long-legged spoonbill with juvenile size and proporitons [sic] representing the genesis of a new clade. This fossil contains fossil grains in the cloacal area (white box). Note that no webbing is preserved between the toes. Spoonbills also lack webbed toes.

***

No, it is not a relative of the spoonbills, and it is not at all an ancestor to ducks, which by the way already existed anyway back then, which again would make it even harder to be their ancestor ….

No, its beak tip isn’t spathulate ….

Yep, Pumiliornis was a very small bird – that doesn’t make it neotenous, at least not more so than any other Passeriform bird, which are indeed thought of as being somewhat neotenous compared to non-passeriform birds.

No, its proportions are not those of a juvenile spoonbill ….

Yep, the fossil contains fossil grains – pollen grains, since it obviously was a nectar-feeding bird with an elongated beak as is typical for nectar-feeding birds …. 

No, Spoonbills do not lack webbing on their toes, they actually have small webs along the bases of their toes ….

***

To think that a small nectar-feeding perching bird is the ancestor of ducks and a relative of spoonbills is, well, funny. To promote that bullshit as if it would be the absolute truth, however, is just insane! 

***

I’ll probably take some of my precious time to try to debunk more of David Peter’s nonsense in the future, we’ll see.

***

Why the world really should ignore David Peters

*********************

edited: 30.07.2021

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!!!   😉

*********************

*********************

A little update here: 

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

*********************

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

*********************

edited: 07.12.2019

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.

*********************

edited: 05-03.2019

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 originally could not 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). 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.   😉

*********************

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

*********************

edited: 08.02.2019

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!  

*********************  

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  

*********************  

edited: 17.09.2018

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

*********************

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

*********************

edited: 22.01.2018