A Fossil Bunting Emberiza shaamarica (Aves, Emberizidae) from the Upper Pliocene of Central Asia


New materials on “Rhodospiza” shaamarica Zelenkov et Kurochkin, 2012 from the Upper Pliocene of Shaamar (Northern Mongolia) and Beregovaya (Southern Transbaikalia; Russia) localities are described. It is shown that R. shaamarica should be assigned to the genus Emberiza (Emberizidae): thus, this is the first fossil bunting species found in Asia. The morphological similarity of Emberiza shaamarica comb nov. to the modern common reed bunting E. schoeniclus is noted. The fossil record and evolutionary history of Emberiza are analyzed. Taxonomic revision of previously described fossil species of Emberiza is performed.

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The authors are grateful to M.A. Erbajeva and V.S. Zazhigin who assembled and kindly provided the materials, and to A.V. Panteleev who provided access to the comparative collection of the Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg, Russia) and commented on the text of this article.


This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 18-34-00680.

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Correspondence to E. S. Palastrova or N. V. Zelenkov.

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Translated by S. Semenova

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Palastrova, E.S., Zelenkov, N.V. A Fossil Bunting Emberiza shaamarica (Aves, Emberizidae) from the Upper Pliocene of Central Asia. Paleontol. J. 54, 652–661 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0031030120060076

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  • Neogene
  • Pliocene
  • Asia
  • Passeriformes
  • Emberizidae
  • morphology