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Zhouornis hani, new species of enantiornithine bird from China
From: Ben Creisler
In the new issue of JVP:
Zihui Zhang, Luis M. Chiappe, Gang Han & Anusuya Chinsamy (2013)
A large bird from the Early Cretaceous of China: new information on
the skull of enantiornithines.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(5): 1176-1189
We describe the anatomy and bone histology of an enantiornithine
specimen from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Group of northeastern China.
CNUVB-0903 is larger than most Early Cretaceous enantiornithine birds
and also different from all other named taxa. Thus, we erect the new
species Zhouornis hani for the new specimen. CNUVB-0903 preserves a
suite of new morphologies for the clade. Noteworthy are those of the
braincase and occipital region of the skull, which was previously
poorly known for enantiornithines. The morphology and placement of the
large basipterygoid processes and the well-developed basisphenoid
recess—comparable in morphology to those of non-avian
dinosaurs—highlights the evolutionary conservatism of the
enantiornithine skull. The histological characterization of CNUVB-0903
indicates that it was not yet a full-grown individual at the time of
death. This, combined with the comparatively large size of the
skeleton, supports previous evidence indicating that early in their
history, enantiornithines were able to achieve relatively large sizes.