Tuesday, May 20, 2014

[PaleoOrnithology • 2005] Hongshanornis longicresta • Discovery of An ornithurine Bird and its Implication for Early Cretaceous Avian Radiation

 Hongshanornis longicresta (高冠红山鸟)
an ornithurine bird from the late cretaceous found in the lacustrine deposits of the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group in Inner Mongolia, China.
by sinammonite: sinammonite.deviantart.com

An ornithurine bird, Hongshanornis longicresta gen. et sp. nov., represented by a nearly complete and articulated skeleton in full plumage, has been recovered from the lacustrine deposits of the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group in Inner Mongolia, northeast China. The bird had completely reduced teeth and possessed a beak in both the upper and lower jaws, representing the earliest known beaked ornithurine. The preservation of a predentary bone confirms that this structure is not unique to ornithischian dinosaurs but was common in early ornithurine birds. This small bird had a strong flying capability with a low aspect ratio wing. It was probably a wader, feeding in shallow water or marshes. This find confirms that the aquatic environment had played a key role in the origin and early radiation of ornithurines, one branch of which eventually gave rise to extant birds near the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. This discovery provides important information not only for studying the origin and early evolution of ornithurines but also for understanding the differentiation in morphology, body size, and diet of the Early Cretaceous birds.

Keywords: evolutionary radiation, fossil bird, Inner Mongolia, beak

Fig. 1. Holotype of ornithurine bird Hongshanornis longicresta gen. et sp. nov. from the Lower Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia, China (IVPP V14533). (Left) Part. (Right) Counterpart.

Zhonghe Zhou and Fucheng Zhang. 2005. Discovery of An ornithurine Bird and its Implication for Early Cretaceous Avian Radiation. PNAS. 102(52); 18998–19002, doi: dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0507106102

Luis M. Chiappe​, Bo Zhao, Jingmai K. O’Connor, Gao Chunling, Xuri Wang, Michael Habib, Jesus Marugan-Lobon, Qingjin Meng, Xiaodong Cheng. 2014. A New Specimen of the Early Cretaceous Bird Hongshanornis longicresta: insights into the Aerodynamics and Diet of a Basal ornithuromorph. PeerJ. 2:e234 DOI: dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.234