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Iteravis, new ornithuromorph bird from Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, China

Ben Creisler

A new online paper:

Shuang Zhou, Jingmai K. O’Connor & Min Wang (2014)
A new species from an ornithuromorph (Aves: Ornithothoraces) dominated
locality of the Jehol Biota.
Chinese Science Bulletin (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s11434-014-0669-8

We report on a new species of ornithuromorph bird, Iteravis
huchzermeyeri gen. et sp. nov., from the previously unreported
Sihedang locality of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation, the oldest
ornithuromorph bearing deposit in the world. Unlike most other
Cretaceous localities, specimens from this new quarry are largely
referable to Ornithuromorpha, similar to the Lower Cretaceous Aptian
Xiagou Formation in Gansu Province. Also similar to the Xiagou
avifauna, the fauna at Sihedang is largely dominated by a single taxon
(described here). Differences in faunal dominance may suggest the
Sihedang records a unique ecological habitat. This may also explain
the dominance of Gansus in the younger Xiagou Formation locality and
suggests that previous hypotheses regarding the shift in dominance
between Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha need to be reassessed in
terms of potential ecological biases due to limited sampling.
Furthermore, the recognition of an ornithuromorph dominated locality
in the Sihedang significantly weakens the signal of such an inferred
trend. Compared to most Jehol birds, the new specimen is relatively
better preserved in three dimensions revealing morphological details
of the skeleton, as well as preserves feather impressions including a
rectricial morphology previously unknown among Mesozoic birds.