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Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 515–527 | Cite as

Three bird taxa (Aves: Anatidae, Phasianidae, Scolopacidae) from the Late Miocene of the Sea of Azov (Southwestern Russia)

  • Nikita V. Zelenkov
  • Andrey V. Panteleyev
Research Paper

Abstract

European Late Miocene avian faunas are very insufficiently known. Until now, no Mio-Pliocene birds have been described from the eastern part of the Eastern Paratethys, and the entire record of birds from the Eastern Paratethys is restricted to several poorly described taxa from Ukraine and Moldova. Here we describe the remains of three bird species from the recently discovered Late Miocene vertebrate locality Morskaya-2, which has yielded the first known avian fauna of this age in the European part of Russia and also the easternmost Neogene avian fauna in Europe. The three taxa represent the families Phasianidae, Anatidae and Scolopacidae, which have not been documented from the Miocene of the Eastern Paratethys before. A small quail from Morskaya is assigned to Plioperdix hungarica comb. nov., which was previously known from the Late Miocene of Hungary. We show that the morphology of the acrocoracoid process of the coracoid is very diagnostic in phasianids and fits the molecular phylogeny of the family relatively well. Apomorphic characters indicate that Plioperdix is a sister taxon of the extant genus Coturnix. A medium-sized duck is assigned to the genus Anas s.s. and described as a new species, A. kurochkini sp. nov. Although metrically close to S. clypeata, this duck is morphologically distinct from all extant dabbling ducks. The presence of the quail and the duck indicates a certain degree of similarity between the avian faunas across the northern borders of the Central and Eastern Paratethys in the latest Miocene. The third reported taxon is a large snipe, which is described here as Gallinago azovica sp. nov.

Keywords

Miocene Avian faunas Paratethys Anatidae Phasianidae Scolopacidae 

Abbreviations

IPEE

Laboratory of biocenology and historical ecology of the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

MNHN

Muséum national d’histoire naturelle Paris

NMNH

National Museum of Natural History Kiev

PIN

Borissiak Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow

SMNS

Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart

ZIN

Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint Petersburg

Kurzfassung

Europäische Avifaunen des späten Miozäns sind nur sehr ungenügend bekannt. Es sind bisher keine Nachweise von mio-pliozänen Vogelresten aus dem östlichen Teil der Ost-Paratethys beschrieben worden. Die komplette Überlieferung fossiler Vögel aus der östlichen Paratethys beschränkt sich auf einige, sehr dürftig beschriebene Taxa aus der Ukraine und aus Moldavien. Es werden Reste von drei Vogelarten aus der kürzlich entdeckten, obermiozänen Vertebratenfundstelle Morskaya-2 beschreiben. Diese Lokalität lieferte den Erstnachweis einer Avifauna aus dieser Zeit des Europäischen Teils von Russland und zugleich die östlichste in Europa gefundene Avifauna aus dem Neogen. Die drei beschriebenen Taxa repräsentieren die Familien Phasianidae, Anatidae und Scolopacidae, welche bisher aus dem Neogen der östlichen Paratethys unbekannt waren. Eine kleine Wachtel von Morskaya wird als Plioperdix hungaricus comb. nov. bestimmt, welche bereits aus dem späten Miozän von Ungarn bekannt ist. Wir zeigen, dass die Morphologie des Processus acrocoracoides des Coracoids ein gutes diagnostisches Merkmal der Phasanidae darstellt und relativ gut mit der molekularen Phylogenie dieser Familie korreliert. Die apomorphen Merkmale weisen darauf hin, das Plioperdix ein Schwester-Taxon der noch vorhandenen Gattung Coturnix darstellt. Ein mittelgroßer Vertreter der Entenvögel wird der Gattung Anas s.s. zugeordnet und als neue Art A. kurochkini nov. sp. beschrieben. Obwohl die metrischen Daten diese Art auch annähernd zu S. clypeata passen, unterscheidet sich dieser Entenvogel jedoch morphologisch von allen vorhandenen Vertretern dieser Gattung. Das Auftreten von Wachtel- und Entenvögeln deutet zuverlässig auf eine Ähnlichkeit der spätmiozänen Avifaunen über die nördlichen Grenzen der Zentral und Östlichen Paratethys hin. Das dritte überlieferte Taxon, eine große Schnepfe, wird als Gallinago azovica nov. sp. beschrieben.

Schlüsselwörter

Miozän Avifaunen Paratethys Anatidae Phasianidae Scolopacidae 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to V.V. Titov and A.S. Tesakov for collecting bird fossils and bringing them to our attention. We also thank A.B. Savinetsky and O.A. Krylovich (IPEE), C. Lefevre and R. Allain (MNHN), O. Rauhut (Paläontologisches Museum München), L.V. Gorobets and M.S. Komar (NMNH), as well as D. Mörike (SMNS) for allowing access to collections and specimens. We are further deeply thankful to the editor Dr. Oliver Rauhut for his suggestions that considerably improved the text and to Dr. Michael Rummel (Naturmuseum Augsburg) for his help with the German translation of the abstract. We are also grateful to Ursula Göhlich, whose comments and suggestions greatly improved the manuscript. This work was partly supported by grants from the Russian Foundation of Basic Research (14-04-01123) and of the President of theRussian Federation (MK-7463.2013.4).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Borissiak Paleontological Institute of RASMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Zoological Institute of RASUniversitetskaya nab., 1St-PetersburgRussia

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