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RE: Apsaravis ukhaana, new Mongolian fossil bird




It would seem that Norell & Clarke are rather overdramatizing their find.
Admittedly there are no birds from Ukhaa Tolgod before, but both small,
possibly volant, hesperornithiforms and presbyornithids have been reported
from nearby sites of approximately the same age so a form from a branch
falling inbetween is hardly sensational. 

Also, considering the high proportion of aquatic forms in the Late
Cretaceous faunas of Mongolia (e.g. hesperornithiforms and
presbyornithids!) it is hard to see how they can be sure that the remains
are from a landbird. The most recent paleoecological reconstructions
suggest that the best modern analogue for the late Cretaceous basins of
Mongolia is the Okavango delta, i e a swampy inland delta in a sandy
desert. In such an environment it is perfectly possible that Apsaravis was
a landbird or even a desert species, but that conclusion would have to be
based on morphology, not on where it was found.

Tommy Tyrberg