A new species of woodpecker (Aves; Picidae) from the early Miocene of Saulcet (Allier, France)
We describe a new genus and species of woodpecker (Piciformes: Picidae), Piculoides saulcetensis, from the early Miocene (MN1–MN2) of Saulcet, in the “Saint-Gérand-le-Puy” area, central France, which is the earliest definite record of the family. The new species is represented solely by the distal end of a tarsometatarsus, which bears nonetheless diagnostic features that allowed us to place Piculoides saulcetensis in a phylogenetic context. Our results show that the fossil from Saulcet is either a stem-group representative of piculets (Picumninae) and true woodpeckers (Picinae) or of true woodpeckers only. Piculoides saulcetensis is similar to a fragmentary tarsometatarsus of a picid from the late Oligocene of southern Germany, and we thus hypothesize a close relationship between the two.