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Yumenornis, Changmaornis, Jiuquanornis: new Cretaceous ornithomorph birds from China.
From: Ben Creisler
New in PLoS ONE:
Ya-Ming Wang, Jingmai K. O'Connor, Da-Qing Li & Hai-Lu You (2013)
Previously Unrecognized Ornithuromorph Bird Diversity in the Early
Cretaceous Changma Basin, Gansu Province, Northwestern China.
PLoS ONE 8(10): e77693.
Here we report on three new species of ornithuromorph birds from the
Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation in the Changma Basin of Gansu
Province, northwestern China: Yumenornis huangi gen. et sp. nov.,
Changmaornis houi gen. et sp. nov., and Jiuquanornis niui gen. et sp.
nov.. The last of these is based on a previously published but unnamed
specimen: GSGM-05-CM-021. Although incomplete, the specimens can be
clearly distinguished from each other and from Gansus yumenensis Hou
and Liu, 1984. Phylogenetic analysis resolves the three new taxa as
basal ornithuromorphs. This study reveals previously unrecognized
ornithuromorph diversity in the Changma avifauna, which is largely
dominated by Gansus but with at least three other ornithuromorphs.
Body mass estimates demonstrate that enantiornithines were much
smaller than ornithuromorphs in the Changma avifauna. In addition,
Changma enantiornithines preserve long and recurved pedal unguals,
suggesting an arboreal lifestyle; in contrast, Changma ornithuromorphs
tend to show terrestrial or even aquatic adaptions. Similar
differences in body mass and ecology are also observed in the Jehol
avifauna in northeastern China, suggesting niche partitioning between
these two clades developed early in their evolutionary history.