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Dingavis, new ornithuromorph bird from Lower Cretaceous of China

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Jingmai K. O'Connor, Min Wang & Han Hu (2016)
A new ornithuromorph (Aves) with an elongate rostrum from the Jehol
Biota, and the early evolution of rostralization in birds.
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology (advance online publication)

A new species of Early Cretaceous ornithuromorph with an elongate
rostrum is described from the Sihedang locality of the Lower
Cretaceous Yixian Formation in north-eastern China. Like the
longipterygid enantiornithines, rostral elongation in Dingavis
longimaxilla gen. et sp. nov. is achieved primarily through the
maxilla, whereas neornithines elongate the premaxilla and
rostralization is far more extreme than observed in early birds.
Notably, in the rostrum of Xinghaiornis, the most ‘longirostrine’
Early Cretaceous ornithuromorph, the premaxilla and maxilla contribute
to the rostrum equally. These lineages together highlight the
diversity of configurations in which early birds experimented with
rostralization of the skull. The 65% upper limit in rostral
proportions of Early Cretaceous taxa with elongate maxillae and the
fact that this morphology was abandoned in more derived taxa suggests
that in Aves this skull configuration provided less structural