Two New Prehistoric Bird Species Identified in China

Two New Prehistoric Bird Species Identified in China

Paleontologists have discovered 6 specimens from a few species of ornithuromorph birds — two of which are new to science — at the Changma locality in China’s Gansu province.

An illustration showing Meemannavis ductrix (bigger just one on the remaining in the centre foreground) and Brevidentavis zhangi (open up-mouthed on the correct). Impression credit: Cindy Joli / Julio Francisco Garza Lorenzo / René Dávila Rodríguez.

The Changma locality in northwestern China is an critical location for paleontologists learning fowl evolution.

It’s the next-richest Mesozoic fossil bird web-site in the environment, but much more than fifty percent of the fossils identified there belong to Gansus yumenensis, a species of aquatic chook that lived somewhere around 120 million yrs back (Early Cretaceous epoch).

Gansus yumenensis is the 1st acknowledged legitimate Mesozoic chicken in the entire world, as Archaeopteryx is much more dinosaur-like, and now we know what its skull appears to be like soon after about four decades,” said Dr. Hai-Lu You, a paleontologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the Heart for Excellence in Lifestyle and Paleoenvironment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the College of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Determining which fossils are Gansus yumenensis and which types are not is difficult.

The new 6 specimens from the Changma web page are principally just skulls and necks, components not preserved in identified specimens of Gansus yumenensis.

The fossils have been also relatively smashed by their time deep in the Earth, which made examining them tough.

“It was a extended, painstaking procedure teasing out what these issues have been,” reported Dr. Jingmai O’Connor, a paleontologist with the Negaunee Integrative Study Middle at the Discipline Museum of Normal Background, Chicago, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the Heart for Excellence in Daily life and Paleoenvironment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“But these new specimens include two new species that maximize our awareness of Cretaceous hen faunas, and we uncovered combinations of dental features that we have by no means witnessed in any other dinosaurs.”

“These fossils arrive from a site in China that has produced fossils of birds that are pretty darned shut to modern day birds, but all the bird fossils described so considerably haven’t had skulls preserved with the bodies,” included Dr. Jerry Harris, a paleontologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Dixie State University.

“These new skull specimens support fill in that gap in our understanding of the birds from this web-site and of chook evolution as a total.”

“The Changma web-site is a specific place. The fossil-bearing rocks there are likely to break up into slim sheets together historical bedding planes,” explained Dr. Matt Lamanna, a paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Organic Background.

“So, when you are digging, it’s like you are practically turning back the webpages of record, layer by layer uncovering animals and plants that have not observed the light of day in about 120 million many years.”

The researchers found that four of the new specimens belong to Gansus yumenensis.

The two other specimens are regarded as new species: Meemannavis ductrix and Brevidentavis zhangi.

Like Gansus yumenensis, the two Meemannavis ductrix and Brevidentavis zhangi are ornithuromorph birds — the team that incorporates modern day birds.

Like today’s birds, Meemannavis ductrix was toothless.

Brevidentavis zhangi, on the other hand, experienced modest, peg-like enamel packed close together in its mouth. Together with those people teeth came an additional unusual characteristic.

Brevidentavis zhangi is an ornithuromorph chicken with tooth, and in ornithuromorphs with enamel, there’s a small bone at the entrance of the jaw identified as the predentary, where its chin would be if birds had chins,” Dr. O’Connor explained.

“At a time when huge dinosaurs however roamed the land, these birds were the products and solutions of evolution experimenting with various existence in the h2o, in the air, and on land, and with distinctive eating plans as we can see in some species owning or missing tooth,” reported Dr. Tom Stidham, a paleontologist with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the Center for Excellence in Lifestyle and Paleoenvironment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“Very several fossils of this geological age offer the level of anatomical depth that we can see in these ancient hen skulls.”

“These discoveries reinforce the hypothesis that the Changma locality is strange in that it is dominated by ornithuromorph birds, which is unheard of in the Cretaceous,” Dr. O’Connor mentioned.

“Learning about these kinfolk of modern day birds can ultimately assist us have an understanding of why today’s birds made it when the many others did not.”

The results appear in the Journal of Systematics and Evolution.


Jingmai K. O’Connor et al. Avian skulls symbolize a varied ornithuromorph fauna from the Reduced Cretaceous Xiagou Formation, Gansu Province, China. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, revealed on the internet Decmeber 29, 2021 doi: 10.1111/jse.12823