Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 275–286 | Cite as

Stem group galliform and stem group psittaciform birds (Aves, Galliformes, Paraortygidae, and Psittaciformes, family incertae sedis) from the Middle Eocene of Namibia

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


The Middle Eocene locality of Eocliff, Namibia, has yielded a rich vertebrate fauna, including mainly mammals, but also a few bird remains. A coracoid and a scapula are ascribed to a new genus and a new species of galliform in the extinct family Paraortygidae. This family was so far known only from the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene of the northern hemisphere. A distal part of tarsometatarsus is ascribed to a new genus and a new species of psittaciform. This tarsometatarsus shows a trochlea metatarsi IV which is characteristic of the crown group Psittaciformes, but, in other features, it is different from extant parrots and corresponds to a stem group Psittaciformes.


Fossil birds Galliform Psittaciform Eocene Namibia Stem lineages Scopelortyx klinghardtensis Namapsitta praeruptorum 


Stammgruppenvertreter von galliformen und psittaciformen Vögeln (Aves, Galliformes, Paraortygidae und Psittaciformes, Familie incertae sedis) aus dem mittleren Eozän von Namibia

Aus der mitteleozänen Fossilfundstelle Eocliff in Namibia ist eine reichhaltige Vertebratenfauna überliefert, welche vor allem Säugetiere beinhaltet, daneben aber auch wenige Vogelreste. Ein Coracoid und eine Scapula werden einer neuen Gattung und Art der Galliformes zugeordnet, in der ausgestorbenen Familie Paraortygidae. Diese Familie war bisher nur aus dem späten Eozän und frühen Oligozän der Nordhemisphäre bekannt. Ein distaler Tarsometatarsus gehört zu einer neuen Gattung und Art der Psittaciformes. Der Bau der Trochlea metatarsi IV dieses Tarsometatarsus ist charakteristisch für Psittaciformes, aber in anderen Merkmalen unterscheidet sich der Knochen deutlich von heutigen Papageien und entspricht Stammgruppenvertretern der Psittaciformes.



We thank the Geological Survey of Namibia (Gabi Schneider, Helke Mocke), the Namibian National Heritage Council (Alma Nankela), and Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Pty) Ltd (J. Jacob), for administrative and logistic aid and for authorising access to the Sperrgebiet. Thanks to Pierre Mein for comments concerning the ages of the Sperrgebiet Palaeogene localities and to Gerald Mayr for the translation of the abstract into German. Funding for the Namibia Palaeontology Expedition was kindly supplied by UMR 7207 CNRS, the University of Rennes (Project to F. Guillocheau) and Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle de l’Ambassade de France à Windhoek (Mr. Jean-Paul Martin).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cécile Mourer-Chauviré
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Pickford
    • 2
  • Brigitte Senut
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, CNRS, UMR 5276 Terre Planètes et EnvironnementUniversité Claude Bernard-Lyon 1Villeurbanne cedexFrance
  2. 2.Sorbonne Universités–CR2P, MNHN, CNRS, UPMC–Paris VIParisFrance

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