[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Largest bird from the Early Cretaceous China

Short Communication
Zhonghe Zhou, Fucheng Zhang

Largest bird from the Early Cretaceous and its implications for the earliest
avian ecological diversification

Naturwissenschaften, DOI 10.1007/s00114-001-0276-9
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-001-0276-9

Abstract. With only one known exception, early Cretaceous birds were smaller
than their closest theropod dinosaur relatives. Here we report on a new bird
from the Early Cretaceous feathered-dinosaur-bearing continental deposits of
Liaoning, northeast China, which is not only larger than Archaeopteryx but
is nearly twice as large as the basal dromaeosaur Microraptor. The new
taxon, Sapeornis chaoyangensis gen. et sp. nov., has a more basal
phylogenetic position than all other birds except for Archaeopteryx. Its
exceptionally long forelimbs, well-developed deltoid crest of the humerus,
proximally fused metacarpals, relatively short hindlimbs and short pygostyle
indicate powerful soaring capability and further suggest that by the Early
Cretaceous ecological diversification of early birds was greater than
previously assumed.