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Hou's Mesozoic Birds of China (New Genera)
From: Ben Creisler email@example.com
Subject: Hou's Mesozoic Birds of China (New Genera)
Since this material probably won't be posted on Dinosauria
On-line in the immediate future (part of my fairly huge
backlog of stuff in preparation), I thought I'd provide
some additional information derived from my own laborious
attempt at translating Hou's 1997 book. This material
should supplement a posting by Jerry Harris many months
back. Word has it that someone whose Chinese is much
better than mind may do a full translation of the book--an
undertakng for which I will be truly grateful! I'll do a
separate posting about Jibeinia--also described in Hou's
book but still an unofficial name under the rules of
nomenclature. Jibeinia looks as if it could be a very
primitive enantiornithine, with metatarsals that are
partially fused on the proximal side. However, I need to
carefully translate the description of the scapula and
coracoid to see if they fit the classific enantiornithine
arrangement. Note that there are a number of problems with
Hou's book, including nomenclatural inconsistencies and
some messed up measurements--see the comments at the end.
Here are the new genera (he describes some additional
species for established taxa as well).
Cuspirostrisornis Hou, 1997 "pointed-rostrum bird"
KUH-spi-ros-tri-SOR-nis (Lat. cuspirostris "having a
pointed rostrum" + Gr. ornis "bird") (m) referring to the
long and slender rostrum on an enantiornithine toothed
bird about the size of large sparrow; known from a
complete, mostly articulated skeleton with skull
(Holotype: IVPP V. 10897) found in the Jiufotang Formation
at Boluochi, Chaoyang County, Liaoning Province,
northeastern China. Skull 2.7 cm long, 5 teeth on each
side of the premaxillary and tip of lower jaws; lower jaw
slender and straight; humerus 2.9 cm long, with large
internal condyle; ulna 3.2 cm long; radius 2.95 long;
sternum has manubium and relatively developed keel; femur
2.73 cm long with large internal condyle; tibiotarsus 3.25
cm long; tarsometatarsus 1.9 cm long; toe-claws large and
Type Species: Cuspirostrisornis houi [HOH-ie] Hou 1997:
for Hou Jifeng, senior engineer with the Institute of
Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (Beijing).
Enantiornithes Cuspirostrisornithidae Early Cretaceous (?
(NOTE: The drawing of the skeleton of Cuspirostrisornis in
Hou 1997 (pg. 155) has the scale indicated incorrectly--1
cm bar should be 2 cm.)
Largirostrornis Hou, 1997 "large-rostrum bird"
LAHR-ji-ros-TROR-nis (Lat. largus "large" + Lat. rostrum +
Gr. ornis "bird") (m) referring to the large and long
rostrum on an enantiornithine toothed bird about the size
of a large sparrow; known from a fairly complete,
partially articulated skeleton with skull (Holotype: IVPP
V. 10531) found in the Jiufotang Formation near Boluochi,
in Chaoyang County, Liaoning Province, northeastern China.
Skull is long (3.2 cm), with a braincase shorter than the
large rostrum; teeth recurved, found only in the tip of
the jaws, with 6 on each side of upper jaws; vertebrae
amphicoelous with high spinal crest; sternum has long
lateral process, expanded distally; furcula short and
robust; coracoid long, arc-shaped articulation to sternum;
humerus S-shaped, 3.1 cm long, with a capital groove; ulna
3.15 cm long; carpometacarpus mostly fused; claws on
manual digits; fused sacrum; femur 2.85 cm long;
tibiotarsus 3.3 cm long; tarsometatarsus 1.9 cm long;
Type Species: Largirostrornis sexdentoris "six-toothed"
Hou 1997: for the 6 teeth in each side of the upper jaw.
Enantiornithes Cathayornithiformes Cuspirostrisornithidae
Early Cretaceous (?Barremian) China
(NOTE: The drawing of the skeleton of Largirostrornis in
Hou 1997 (pg. 163) has the scale indicated incorrectly--1
cm bar should be read as
approximately 1.7 cm.)
Longchengornis Hou, 1997 "Longcheng bird"
loong-chuhng-OR-nis (Chin. Longcheng "Dragon Town" + Gr.
ornis "bird") (m) for Longcheng "Dragon Town," an ancient
name for the modern city of Chaoyang (founded in 341 AD by
Murong Kuang, a leader of the Xianbi (a group of Mongol
people), as capital of the one-time Kingdom of Yan in
modern Liaoning Province). Known from an incomplete
skeleton with fragments of the skull (Holotype: IVPP V.
10530), from the Jiufotang Formation at Boluochi, Chaoyang
County, Liaoning Province, northeastern China. A
enantiornithine toothed bird about the size of a sparrow
with a ventral crest on cervical vertebrae; humerus 3.25
cm long, with round depression on proximal end; radius 2.9
cm long; coracoid small, narrow and straight at distal
end; furcula thin; vertebrae amphiplatyan; 8 sacrals; 15
caudal vertebrae, long, unfused; femur 2.15 cm long;
tibiotarsus slender, 3.4 cm long; tarsometatarsus 2.15 cm
long; pedal claws large, curved.
Type Species: Longchengornis sanyanensis [sahn-ye-NEN-sis]
Hou 1997: "from Three Yan (states)" referring to three
feudal states of Yan (Qin Yan, Hou Yan and Northern He
Yan) that existed in the Chaoyang region during the
Sixteen Kingdoms Period (316-452 AD) in northern China.
Enantiornithes Cathayornithiformes Cathayornithidae Early
Cretaceous (?Barremian) China
Songlingornis Hou, 1997 "Songling (Mountains) bird"
soong-ling-OR-nis (Chin. Songling + Gr. ornis "bird") (m)
named for the Songling Mountains northeast of the Chaoyang
region of Liaoning Province; an ornithuran toothed bird
about the size of a sparrow, known from an incomplete
skeleton and parts of a skull (Holotype: IVPP V. 10913)
from the Jiufotang Formation at Boluochi, Chaoyang County,
Liaoning Province, northeastern China. Dense arrangement
of teeth along the length of the upper and lower jaws;
coracoid well developed; furcula process narrow as in
modern waterbirds; sternum large, with carina, fenestrae
and lateral processes; ulna 2.8 cm long, radius 2.1 cm
Type Species: Songlingornis linghensis [ling-HEN-sis] Hou
1997, referring to the Ling River (consisting of the
Daling He "Big Ling River" and the Xiaoling He "Little
Ling River"), running in a southwest to northeast
direction near the region of Liaoxi (western Liaoning
Province) in which the fossil was found in northern China.
Ornithurae Chaoyangiformes Songlingornithidae Early
Cretaceous (?Barremian) China
Throughout the book the typesetter and proofreader
evidently had problems with Latin letters--a and o are
confused, as are r and v. Although Longchengornis is
spelled with an 'o' for most of the book in accordance
with the Chinese etymology, the formal statement of the
genus name spells it "Langchengornis." Hoowever, the type
species is given as "Longchenornis sanyanensis" just a few
lines below. Anyone acting as first reviser should be
careful to establish the correct spelling as
Songlingornis is misspelled "Sonlingornis" in various
parts of the book--Songlingornis is the correct spelling.
2. Errors in Scale and Measurement
The scale given for at least two of the line drawings of
specimens of new taxa is in error based on the text
description, table of measurements, and the 3-centimeter
scale bar on the photographs of the specimens:
Cuspirostrisornis: the 1 centimeter scale bar should be
labeled a 2 centimeter bar.
Largirostrornis: the 1 centimeter scale bar should be read
as approximately 1.7 cm instead.
The table giving measurements for the bones of
Longchengornis (pg. 144) also contains as error. The ulna
is said to be only 0.45 cm long while the radius is given
as 2.9 cm (a size which matches the photos and
illustration). The ulna measurement is clearly wrong since
the bone is larger than the radius in the illustration and
is probably closer to 3.1 (only a guess).
- From: dbensen <firstname.lastname@example.org>