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Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 327–341 | Cite as

The Gastornis (Aves, Gastornithidae) from the Late Paleocene of Louvois (Marne, France)

  • Cécile Mourer-ChauviréEmail author
  • Estelle Bourdon
Article

Abstract

The Late Paleocene locality of Louvois is located about 20 km south of Reims, in the department of Marne (France). These marly sediments have yielded numerous vertebrate remains. The Louvois fauna is coeval with those of the localities of Cernay-lès-Reims and Berru and is dated as reference-level MP6, late Thanetian. Here we provide a detailed description of the remains of giant flightless gastornithids that were preliminarily reported in a study of the vertebrate fauna from Louvois. These fragmentary gastornithid remains mainly include a carpometacarpus, several tarsometatarsi, and numerous pedal phalanges. These new avian fossils add to the fossil record of Gastornis, which has been reported from various Early Paleogene localities in the Northern Hemisphere. Tarsometatarsi and pedal phalanges show large differences in size, which may be interpreted as sexual size dimorphism. The specimens from Louvois are morphologically different from those of Gastornis parisiensis and G. russelli, from Cernay and Berru. The Louvois carpometacarpus is also different from that of the North American G. giganteus, and the Louvois pedal phalanges are shorter and stouter than in other species of Gastornis. Moreover, the Louvois tarsometatarsi are more similar to that of the much younger G. sarasini, from Monthelon, reference-level MP 10, late Ypresian. We refrain from assigning the Louvois specimens to a new species of Gastornis and we designate it as Gastornis sp., owing to the fragmentary nature of the material. However, the morphological features of the Louvois material are sufficiently distinct for us to propose that three different forms of Gastornis were present in the Late Paleocene of North-eastern France.

Keywords

Gastornis Louvois Sexual size dimorphism Thanetian Third coeval form 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to Pierre Louis for giving access to the fossil bird material from Louvois. We thank Carl Mehling (AMNH), Helen James and Marc Florence (NMNH), Sandra Chapman (NHMUK) and Ronan Allain (MNHN) for providing access to the fossil bird collections. Kenneth Campbell (LACM) kindly sent us some pictures of the G. giganteus material housed in his institution. This work was funded by a Carlsberg grant No. 2013_01_0480 (Carlsbergfondet) to EB. We also thank associate editor Loïc Costeur and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, Terre, Planètes et Environnement, UMR 5276Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1Villeurbanne CedexFrance
  2. 2.The Natural History Museum of Denmark, Section of BiosystematicsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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