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Chinese Birds: Jibeinia and Lingyuanornis



From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org
Subject: Chinese Birds: Jibeinia and Lingyuanornis

I just borrowed a copy of a book Jim Goedert of the Burke 
Museum here in Seattle brought back from the Society of 
Avian Paleontology and Evolution meeting in China. 
Called "Picture Book of Chinese Fossil Birds," the book 
lists Hou Lianhai as the "chief compiler" and contains 
short articles in Chinese and English about the major 
Mesozoic bird finds of the past few years, with photos of 
the specimens and paintings of what the various birds 
might have looked like in life. A point of particular 
interest is the short description of Jibeinia, which, 
arguably, renders the name "available" (that is, validly 
published) for purposes of the zoological nomenclature 
under the ICZN. 

Hou's 1997 book Fossil Birds of China contained a detailed 
description of what the Chinese text referred to only 
as "Jibei bird" (Jibei being an old name for part of Hebei 
Province), but nowhere in the text of the actual 
description did Hou use the formal Latin name Jibeinia, 
nor did he indicate the type species was Jibeinia 
luanhera. The Jibei bird was based on a single specimen 
but its catalog number was never cited. The Latin name 
Jibeinia luanhera only appeared in the caption to a photo 
and some line drawings, and was not mentioned in the 
appendix, which summarized the taxa discussed in the book. 
Under Article 13e of the ICZN Code 3rd edition, in force 
in 1997, a name proposed merely by an indication "in 
association with an illustration of the taxon being named" 
would not be an "available" (properly published) name for 
names published after 1930. As I read the Code, the name 
Jibeinia luanhera was technically not an available name in 
1997.

As Jerry Harris mentioned in a recent posting, though, the 
name is now being cited in the literature as if it were a 
valid available name. I guess I should cut Hou some slack 
and treat the name Jibeinia luanhera as available, at 
least based on his Picture Book of Chinese Birds. Although 
Hou cites the name and date as Jibeina luanhera Hou, 1997, 
I think the date 2000 would be better (the publication 
date of the picture book)--unless another, earlier 
description with the formal Latin name has appeared 
somewhere. There is still no indication of the holotype 
catalog number, though. Someday somebody needs to fill in 
all the details so the name will pass muster with the 
International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. For now, 
I'll go ahead and post Jibeinia on Dinosauria On-line 
(with a description) as a valid name for a recognized 
taxon. (The painting in Hou's book makes it took like a 
blue jay for some reason--but a blue jay with teeth!)

Elswhere I have also seen a reference to a new Chinese 
bird that I don't believe has been mentioned here before--
Lingyuanornis Ji & Ji, 1999.  The citation is:

Ji Qiang & Ji Shu'an. 1999. A new genus of the Mesozoic 
birds from Lingyuan, Liaoning, China. CHINESE GEOLOGY 1999
(3) No 262, 1999: 45-48, illustr. 
Lingyuanornis parvus, classified in the Enantiornithes, 
family incertae sedis, from Lingyuan in Liaoning Province, 
China. The find supposedly dates from the Late Jurassic, 
but is likely Early Cretaceous instead. 

I have not seen the paper and can't provide anymore 
details at the moment.  Anybody have additional 
information?