Sunday, January 10, 2016

[PaleoOrnithology • 2015] Cratoavis cearensis • A New Genus and Species of Enantiornithine Bird from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil


 The fossil record of birds in Gondwana is almost restricted to the Late Cretaceous. Herein we describe a new fossil from the Araripe Basin, Cratoavis cearensis nov. gen et sp., composed of an articulated skeleton with feathers attached to the wings and surrounding the body. The present discovery Considerably extends the record time of the enantiornithes birds at South America to the Early Cretaceous. For the first team, an almost complete and articulated skeleton of an Early Cretaceous bird from South America is documented.

Keywords: Cratoavis cearensis nov. gen et sp .; Araripe Basin; fossil bird

Aves Linnaeus 1758
Ornithothoraces Chiappe 1996

Enantiornithes Walker 1981
Cratoavis cearensis nov. gen. et sp. (Figs. 3 and 4)

Etymology: Cratoavis nov. gen., the generic name derives from the combination of the Crato Member lithostratigraphic unit, where the specimen was found, and the zoological group Aves. The specific epithet cearensis refers to the Ceará State, where the fossil was collected.

Locality and horizon: Pedra Branca Mine, Nova Olinda County, Ceará State, Brazil (7° 6´51.9´´ S and 39° 41´46.9´´ W). Araripe Basin, Santana Formation, Crato Member (Early Cretaceous, Aptian).
 This formation has yielded abundant and exceptionally preserved fossils of a large variety of plants and animals, representing one of the best well-known terrestrial ecosystems for the Early Cretaceous. Isolated feathers probably belonging to birds have been described from these beds, as well as succinct reports on avian skeletons associated with poorly preserved feathers.

 Cratoavis cearensis Mirischia asymmetrica  
Illustration: Deverson Pepi ||

Cratoavis cearensis nov. gen. et sp. constitutes the first named bird from the Mesozoic of Brazil and the Early Cretaceous of South America. It constitutes an important addition to the meager record of South American Cretaceous birds, and constitutes one of the more complete Mesozoic bird specimen from Gondwana. It also expands the list in which skeletal elements have been found in association with feathers, including long tail rectrices. 

Ismar Carvalho, Fernando E. Novas, Federico L. Agnolin, Marcelo P. Isasi, Francisco I. Freitas and Jose A. Andrade. 2015. A New Genus and Species of Enantiornithine Bird from the Early Cretaceous of Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Geology. 45(2): 161-171.  DOI:  10.1590/23174889201500020001
RESUMO: No Gondwana, o registro fóssil de aves está praticamente restrito ao Cretáceo Superior. Neste estudo é descrito um novo fóssil da Bacia do Araripe, Cratoavis cearensis nov. gen. et sp., composto por um esqueleto articulado com penas conectadas às asas e circundando o corpo. A presente descoberta amplia consideravelmente o intervalo temporal de registro das aves Enantiornithes na América do Sul ao Cretáceo Inferior. Pela primeira vez, um esqueleto articulado e quase completo de uma ave do Cretáceo Inferior da América do Sul é documentado.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Cratoavis cearensis nov. gen. et sp.; Bacia do Araripe; Ave fóssil.


Ismar de Souza Carvalho, Fernando E. Novas, Federico L. Agnolín, Marcelo P. Isasi, Francisco I. Freitas and José A. Andrade. 2015. A Mesozoic Bird from Gondwana preserving Feathers. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8141

Photos: Dinosaur-Era Bird Sported Ribbonlike Feathers