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Gerald Mayr, J. Yang, Eric De Bast, Cheng-Sen Li and Thierry Smith (2013)

A Strigogyps-like bird from the Middle Paleocene of China with an unusual grasping foot

Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 33(4):895-901.

We describe a new avian species, Qianshanornis rapax, gen. et sp. nov., from the middle Paleocene Wanghudun Formation of the Qianshan Basin in Anhui Province, China. The holotype consists of an incomplete articulated foot and a few associated bones, mainly of the leg, wing, and pectoral girdle. Qianshanornis rapax is characterized by a derived foot morphology and may have had a hyperextendible second toe, which has so far only been reported for some Mesozoic taxa. The new species is markedly different from all other known Cenozoic birds and is here classified in the new taxonQianshanornithidae. The leg bones, especially the distal end of the tibiotarsus, most closely resemble those of Strigogyps (Ameghinornithidae) from the Eocene, and possibly Oligocene, of Europe, but unlike the latter, the much smaller Q. rapax appears to have had well-developed flight capabilities.
Peer Review, Impact Factor
2,346 [IF 2009]
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