Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 59, Issue 36, pp 5366–5378 | Cite as

A new species from an ornithuromorph (Aves: Ornithothoraces) dominated locality of the Jehol Biota

  • Shuang Zhou
  • Jingmai K. O’Connor
  • Min Wang
Article Geology


We report on a new species of ornithuromorph bird, Iteravis huchzermeyeri gen. et sp. nov., from the previously unreported Sihedang locality of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, the oldest ornithuromorph bearing deposit in the world. Unlike most other Cretaceous localities, specimens from this new quarry are largely referable to Ornithuromorpha, similar to the Lower Cretaceous Aptian Xiagou Formation in Gansu Province. Also similar to the Xiagou avifauna, the fauna at Sihedang is largely dominated by a single taxon (described here). Differences in faunal dominance may suggest the Sihedang records a unique ecological habitat. This may also explain the dominance of Gansus in the younger Xiagou Formation locality and suggests that previous hypotheses regarding the shift in dominance between Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha need to be reassessed in terms of potential ecological biases due to limited sampling. Furthermore, the recognition of an ornithuromorph dominated locality in the Sihedang significantly weakens the signal of such an inferred trend. Compared to most Jehol birds, the new specimen is relatively better preserved in three dimensions revealing morphological details of the skeleton, as well as preserves feather impressions including a rectricial morphology previously unknown among Mesozoic birds.


Early Cretaceous Sihedang Ornithuromorpha Aves Tail feathers 



This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB821906), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41172020).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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