Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 77–89 | Cite as

Parvigruidae (Aves, core Gruiformes) from the early Oligocene of Belgium

  • Gerald Mayr
Original Paper


The avian taxon Parvigruidae includes poorly known early Oligocene core Gruiformes, which were considered to be most closely related to either Ralloidea (rails and allies) or Gruoidea (cranes and allies) by earlier authors. Previous fossils of these birds were found in southern France (Parvigrus pohli) and eastern Germany (Rupelrallus saxoniensis). Here, I describe remains of two parvigruid species from the Rupelian stratotype (Boom clay) in Belgium. The smaller of these are tentatively assigned to P. pohli, the larger specimens agree with R. saxoniensis in size but differ in some morphological details and are assigned to a new species, ?Rupelrallus belgicus, sp. nov. The new fossils show that parvigruids were an important part of the early Oligocene European avifauna and had a wide distribution across the continent. They further allow recognition of previously unknown osteological features, especially of the humerus and hypotarsus, which substantiate sister group relationship between Parvigruidae and crown group Gruoidea.


Fossil birds Parvigruidae Parvigrus Rupelrallus Rupelian 



I thank A. Folie and T. Smith (IRSNB) for the loan of the Belgian parviguids and S. Tränkner (SMF) for taking the photographs. I am further indebted to R. Schlatter (NML) for access to the Rupelrallus saxoniensis holotype, and to A. Louchart and N. Zelenkov for reviewing the manuscript.

Supplementary material

12549_2012_83_MOESM1_ESM.doc (74 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 74 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sektion OrnithologieSenckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

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