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RE: Archaeorhynchus, new toothless beaked Liaoning ornithurine



From the _Archaeorhynchus_ paper...

It also contains over three dozen preserved gizzard stones, suggesting an
herbivorous diet.

_Lourinhanosaurus_ and _Poekilopleuron_ also had gastroliths, so I'm not sure the presence of gastroliths is a reliable indicator of a herbivorous diet. The authors compare _Archaeorhynchus_'s spatulate beak to that of ducks, but note that the beak of _Archaeorhynchus_ lacks the "horny lamellae" of a duck's bill. However, the more obvious comparison might be to spoonbills, which feed on small water creatures (arthropods, little fish, amphibians, etc).


The phylogenetic analysis of Zhou and Zhang (2006) puts both _Confuciusornis_ and _Vorona_ in the Enantiornithes (sensu Sereno, 2005), with _Confuciusornis_ as the sister taxon to (other) enantiornitheans. I'm not sure how well-supported this _Confuciusornis_+Enantiornithes clade is, but we could be heading toward some kind of Sauriurae clade.


Cheers

Tim