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A long-tailed bird with a pygostyle

Lü, Junchang & Lianhai Hou, 2005. A possible long-tailed bird with a pygostyle from the late Mesozoic Yixian Formation, western Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica 79 (1): 7-10.

Abstract: An incomplete caudal vertebral series (IVPP V11309) from the Yixian Formation of late Mesozoic, Jianshangou area of Beipiao, western Liaoning Province, may represent a new bird. The tail is composed of at least 12 free caudal vertebrae and the most distal 5 caudal vertebrae co-ossified into a pygostyle. The pygostyle is plate-like and slightly curved dorsally. The anterior free caudals are amphiplatyan. The anterior caudal surfaces of the last three free caudals are concave, but their posterior articular surfaces are convex. The pygostyle is regarded as the first appeared flight apparatus during the evolutionary process from *Archaeopteryx* to neornithes. The pygostyle appeared in most early fossil birds and almost all the modern birds. Although their morphologies are different, they are basically formed by at least four last caudal vertebrae. The specimen V11309 is regarded as a bird rather than a non-avian theropod dinosaur based on the following characters: short caudal vertebrae, numerous pits present on the surfaces of the centra and, a foramen present between the basal part of the fused neural spines, which is similar to that of *Struthio camelus*. The discoveries of pygostyles from the therizinosauroids and oviraptorosaurs may provide strong evidence for supporting the origin of birds from small theropod dinosaurs. The structure of the pygostyle in specimen V11309 is different from those of *Beipiaosaurus* (Therizinosauroid) and *Nomingia* (oviraptorosaur). The most parsimonious interpretation is that these pygostyle-like structures are independently acquired by *Beipiaosaurus* and *Nomingia* during their evolutionary process.

Looks like no new taxon named this time, but I cannot be sure having seen only the abstract.