Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 353–359 | Cite as

The parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes) from the Middle Miocene of Sansan (Gers, Southern France)

  • Marco Pavia


The occurrence of Archaeopsittacus sp. (Psittaciformes) in the fossil deposits of Sansan (France) is reported, testifying to a survival of this genus in the Middle Miocene, as Archaeopsittacus verreauxi was described from the Early Miocene of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (France) and was recorded only from its type locality. The data discussed here indicate the presence of two parrot species from Sansan, as it is the type locality of another parrot species, Pararallus dispar, only known from this locality. The differences between the humeri of these two taxa are described in detail, together with the differences from the other European fossil parrot species. The presence of more than one species of parrot in the same locality is not rare, but in Europe it is recorded in Sansan for the second time. Evidence for parrots also confirms the paleoenvironmental reconstruction of Sansan, as parrots are primarily arboreal species. Archaeopsittacus also represents one of the few common elements between the Early and Middle Miocene European bird assemblages.


Aves Psittaciformes Miocene France 


Das Vorkommen von Archaeopsittacus sp. (Psittaciformes) im Fossilbericht von Sansan (Frankreich) belegt das Überleben dieser Gattung bis zum Mittleren Miozän, da Archaeopsittacus verreauxi zuvor nur von der Typuslokalität Saint-Gérand-le-Puy (Frankreich) aus dem frühen Miozän bekannt war. Sansan ist auch die Typuslokalität und einziger Fundort für eine weitere Papageienart, Pararallus dispar. Merkmale des Oberarmknochens, die eine Identifizierung beider Arten und ihre Unterscheidung von anderen Papageien aus dem Fossilbericht Europas zulassen, werden detailliert beschrieben. Das Vorkommen von mehr als einer Papageienart an derselben Fossilfundselle ist nicht selten, aber Sansan ist erst die zweite Fundstelle in Europa, an der sich mehr als eine Papageienart feststellen lässt. Da Papageien in ihrer Lebensweise in erster Linie arboreal sind, stützt der Fossilbeleg frühere Rekonstruktionen der Paläohabitate von Sansan. Archaeopsittacus ist darüber hinaus eine der wenigen Taxa, die sowohl in früh- wie in mittelmiozänen Avifaunen vertreten sind.


Aves Psittaciformes Miozän Frankreich 



R. Allain, C. Lefevre (MNHN), G. Boano (MCCI), and H. de Lumley (IPH) are thanked for the possibility to access the collections at their institutions, and A. Manegold and G. Mayr (Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg) for reviewing the manuscript and for the help with the German abstract. The work was financially supported by Italian MIUR PRIN 2009MSSS9L_002 to Giulio Pavia and by Synthesys projects FR–TAF–2607 and NL–TAF–225.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Museo di Geologia e PaleontologiaUniversità degli Studi di TorinoTurinItaly

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