Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp 617–622 | Cite as

The first Palaeogene galliform from Africa

  • Cécile Mourer-ChauviréEmail author
  • Martin Pickford
  • Brigitte Senut
Original Article


An almost complete tarsometatarsus from the middle Eocene locality of Silica South, Sperrgebiet, Namibia, is attributed to the order Galliformes. This is the earliest record of the order in Africa. It belongs to a stem group galliform and differs from the Recent families. It is compared with Mesozoic birds from America, and Gallinuloididae, Quercymegapodiidae and Paraortygidae from Europe and the Americas. Because the specimen is an isolated bone, damaged proximally, we do not attribute it to a family, but it is clear that it represents a new genus and species of galliform bird, which we name Namaortyx sperrgebietensis.


Fossil bird Galliform Eocene Namibia Stem lineage Namaortyx sperrgebietensis 


Ein nahezu vollständiger Tarsometatarsus aus der lutetischen Fundstelle Silica South, Sperrgebiet, Namibia, wird der Ordnung Galliformes zugeordnet. Das Fossil ist der älteste Nachweis dieser Ordnung in Afrika. Das Material wird mit mesozoischen Vögeln von Amerika verglichen sowie mit den Gallinuloididae, Quercymegapodiidae und Paraortygidae aus Europa und Amerika. Weil das Exemplar ein isolierter, proximal beschädigter Knochen ist, ordnen wir ihn nicht einer Familie zu, aber es ist offensichtlich, dass es eine neue Gattung und Art galliformer Vögel repräsentiert, die wir Namaortyx sperrgebietensis nennen.



For the loan of comparative material we thank Christine Lefèvre from the Laboratoire d’Anatomie comparée of the Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris. We thank the Geological Survey of Namibia (G. Schneider) and the Namibian National Monuments Council (E. Ndalikokule) for authorisation to conduct research in Namibia, and Namdeb (J.J. Jacob) for administrative and logistic help in the Sperrgebiet. Support was obtained from UMR 7207 CNRS and the Service de Coopération et d’action culturelle of the French Embassy at Windhoek. We thank G. Mayr and an anonymous referee for critical comments which improved this paper.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cécile Mourer-Chauviré
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Martin Pickford
    • 3
    • 4
  • Brigitte Senut
    • 4
  1. 1.Université Lyon 1Université de LyonLyonFrance
  2. 2.UMR 5125 Paléoenvironnements et PaléobiosphèreCNRSVilleurbanne CedexFrance
  3. 3.Chaire d’évolution des climats et de l’océanCollège de FranceParisFrance
  4. 4.Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Département Histoire de la TerreCNRS, UMR 7207ParisFrance

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