Senckenbergiana lethaea

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 45–57 | Cite as

A new basal galliform bird from the Middle Eocene of Messel (Hessen, Germany)

  • Gerald Mayr
Article

Abstract

A new basal galliform bird is described from the Middle Eocene of Messel (Hessen, Germany).Paraortygoides messelensis n. gen. n. sp. is one of the oldest galliform birds known so far and has been tentatively referred to the extinct family Gallinuloididae. This assignment is, however, not supported with derived characters, and in the presence of a very marked second fossa pneumotricipitalis on the humerusP. messelensis resembles the genusParaortyx (Paraortygidae). The new taxon is clearly distinguished from all recent Galliformes by the absence of a transverse ridge at the beginning of the incisura capitis of the humerus, the cup-like cotyla scapularis on the coracoid, and by a very robust furcula. The latter feature and the far cranially situated apex carinae of the sternum might indicate thatParaortygoides messelensis had a less developed crop than recent Galliformes. If correctly referred to the Gallinuloididae, the cup-like cotyla scapularis ofParaortygoides messelensis shows that the Gallinuloididae branched off very early in the evolution of the Galliformes.

Key words

Eocene birds Messel Galliformes Gallinuloididae Paraortygoides messelensis n. gen. n. sp. 

Ein neuer basaler Vertreter der Galliformes aus dem mittleren Eozän von Messel (Hessen, Deutschland)

Kurzfassung

Aus dem mittleren Eozän von Messel (Hessen, Deutschland) wird ein neuer basaler Vertreter der Galliformes beschrieben.Paraortygoides messelensis n. gen. n. sp. ist einer der ältesten bisher bekannten Hühnervögel und wurde unter Vorbehalt zu der ausgestorbenen Familie Gallinuloididae gestellt. Diese Zuordnung kann jedoch nicht mit abgeleiteten Merkmalen begründet werden, und in der Ausbildung einer sehr deutlichen zweiten Fossa pneumotricipitalis am Humerus ähneltP messelensis der GattungParaortyx (Paraortygidae). Durch das Fehlen einer querverlaufenden Knochenleiste am Beginn der Incisura capitis des Humerus, durch die schüsseiförmige Cotyla scapularis am Coracoid und durch die sehr kräftige Furcula läßt sich das neue Taxon klar gegenüber allen rezenten Galliformes abgrenzen. Das letztgenannte Merkmal und der weit cranial gelegene Apex carinae des Sternums könnten darauf hinweisen, daßParaortygoides messelensis einen weniger entwickelten Kropf als rezente Hühnervögel hatte. FallsParaortygoides messelensis zu Recht den Gallinuloididae zugeordnet wurde, zeigt die schüsseiförmige Cotyla scapularis, daß die Gallinuloididae sehr früh in der Evolution der Galliformes abzweigten.

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Copyright information

© E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Mayr
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungsinstitut SenckenbergSektion OrnithologieFrankfurt am Main

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