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The trophic habits of early birds

Published on Jan 1, 2019in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology2.62
· DOI :10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.03.006
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
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Abstract
Abstract Although direct associations that reveal diet are extremely rare in the fossil record, the rich Lower Cretaceous Jehol Lagerstatte has produced dozens of specimens preserving ingested items, which together reveal important information regarding the early evolution of the avian alimentary canal. Direct evidence indicates Jeholornis and Sapeornis ate seeds and like living granivores utilized a gastric mill although only the more derived Sapeornis possessed a crop for food storage. Despite their smaller numbers in the Early Cretaceous, most direct evidence pertains to the Ornithuromorpha, indicating a structurally and functionally modern alimentary canal was present in even the earliest members of this clade. Similar evidence is altogether lacking in the Enantiornithes suggesting this clade was characterized by a primitive alimentary canal, potentially factoring into the ultimate extinction of this successful Cretaceous lineage. The role of the gizzard in the loss of teeth in Aves is more complex than in non-avian theropod lineages. As in neornithines, the presence of gastroliths in basal ornithuromorphs may not be entirely indicative of herbivory although this diet does appear to correlate with complete tooth loss in this clade. Positive selection for specialized tooth morphologies persists throughout the evolution of Aves and in the Ornithuromorpha appears to be linked to piscivory. Although represented by the greatest numbers, no direct indicator of diet preference is preserved in any confuciusornithiform or enantiornithine suggesting these clades utilized different nutritional strategies. The absence of teeth and gastroliths in all confuciusornithiforms suggest this lineage may have secondarily switched to a non-herbivorous, soft diet. Similarly, the absence of gizzard stones in enantiornithines also suggests a soft diet while their small body size suggests Early Cretaceous species would have fed on invertebrates. The diversity of recognized dental patterns including enamel specializations observed in Jehol enantiornithines suggests effective resource partitioning of available invertebrate faunas and that teeth had an active participation in enantiornithine feeding strategies.
  • References (89)
  • Citations (3)
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References89
Newest
Published on Apr 1, 2018in Cretaceous Research2.12
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Xiaoli Wang17
Estimated H-index: 17
(LYU: Linyi University)
+ 5 AuthorsZHOUZhonghe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Abstract Seeds preserved in association with the holotype of Jeholornis prima provided the first direct evidence of granivory in any Mesozoic bird. Although this long boney-tailed bird also displays several morphological indicators correlated with herbivory such as reduced dentition and a deep mandible, Jeholornis has not been previously reported to possess a gastric mill. However, this feature is commonly linked to herbivory in theropod dinosaurs and present in at least one sympatric ornithurom...
Published on Jan 31, 2018
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
(LYU: Linyi University),
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
+ 2 AuthorsZHOUZhonghe47
Estimated H-index: 47
STM35-3 from the Yixian Formation is the only Early Cretaceous ornithuromorph preserving direct evidence of granivory. The crop contains numerous seeds and the preservation of gastroliths presumably within the ventriculus indicates this diet was paired with the presence of a gastric mill as in living granivorous birds. STM35-3 was originally referred to Hongshanornis longicresta, member of a diverse clade of small, basal ornithuromorphs with elongate hindlimbs known as the Hongshanornithidae. Hi...
Published on Jan 26, 2018in PeerJ2.35
Oliver W. M. Rauhut28
Estimated H-index: 28
(LMU: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich),
Christian Foth11
Estimated H-index: 11
(University of Fribourg),
Helmut Tischlinger3
Estimated H-index: 3
Shuo Wang6
Estimated H-index: 6
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Josef Stiegler2
Estimated H-index: 2
(GW: George Washington University)
+ 5 AuthorsXing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Abstract Beaks are innovative structures characterizing numerous tetrapod lineages, including birds, but little is known about how developmental processes influenced the macroevolution of these important structures. Here we provide evidence of ontogenetic vestigialization of alveoli in two lineages of theropod dinosaurs and show that these are transitional phenotypes in the evolution of beaks. One of the smallest known caenagnathid oviraptorosaurs and a small specimen of the Early Cretaceous bir...
Published on Jun 1, 2017in Acta Geologica Sinica-english Edition
David W. E. Hone22
Estimated H-index: 22
(QMUL: Queen Mary University of London),
Thomas R. Holtz11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)
The spinosaurids represent an enigmatic and highly unusual form of large tetanuran theropods that were first identified in 1915. A recent flurry of discoveries and taxonomic revisions of this important and interesting clade has added greatly to our knowledge. Spinosaur body fossils are however generally rare and most species are known from only limited skeletal remains. Their unusual anatomical adaptations to the skull, limbs and axial column all differ from other large theropods and point to an...
Published on Jun 1, 2017in Cretaceous Research2.12
Yan Wang9
Estimated H-index: 9
(LYU: Linyi University),
Han Hu6
Estimated H-index: 6
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 5 AuthorsXiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
(LYU: Linyi University)
Abstract Here we describe the well-preserved skull of a juvenile specimen of Sapeornis, STM 16-18. Only the tail and hindlimb plumage of this specimen have been previously described. It preserves what we consider to be the complete dentition of Sapeornis with four premaxillary teeth, three maxillary teeth and two tiny dentary teeth on each side, the latter feature being previously unknown for this taxon. Based on a study of 71 specimens of Sapeornis preserving dentition, we infer the absence of ...
Published on May 1, 2017in National Science Review13.22
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
(LYU: Linyi University),
Jingmai K. O’Connor9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 4 AuthorsZHOUZhonghe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
We report on an exceptional specimen of Eoconfuciusornis preserving rare soft-tissue traces of the ovary and wing. Ovarian follicles preserve a greater hierarchy than observed in Jeholornis and enantiornithines, suggesting confuciusornithiforms evolved higher rates of yolk deposition in parallel with the neornithine lineage. The preserved soft tissues of the wing indicate the presence of a propatagium and postpatagium, whereas an alular patagium is absent. Preserved remnants of the internal supp...
Published on May 1, 2017in Cretaceous Research2.12
Antoine Louchart12
Estimated H-index: 12
(École normale supérieure de Lyon),
Joane Pouech3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UPMC: Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University)
Abstract The Late Jurassic Archaeopterygidae, comprising the iconic genus Archaeopteryx , is altogether among the earliest, basalmost and best-known Mesozoic avian taxa. The geographic distribution of Archaeopteryx is hitherto restricted to a limited region of southern Germany, probably due to preservation biases. Here we describe a tooth sorted among the more than 35,000 isolated teeth found by sieving sediments from the Cherves-de-Cognac locality (western France, Lower Cretaceous). This tooth ...
Published on Dec 1, 2016in BMC Evolutionary Biology3.04
Maïtena Dumont3
Estimated H-index: 3
(École normale supérieure de Lyon),
Paul Tafforeau36
Estimated H-index: 36
(European Synchrotron Radiation Facility)
+ 7 AuthorsAntoine Louchart12
Estimated H-index: 12
(École normale supérieure de Lyon)
Background The dentitions of extinct organisms can provide pivotal information regarding their phylogenetic position, as well as paleobiology, diet, development, and growth. Extant birds are edentulous (toothless), but their closest relatives among stem birds, the Cretaceous Hesperornithiformes and Ichthyornithiformes, retained teeth. Despite their significant phylogenetic position immediately outside the avian crown group, the dentitions of these taxa have never been studied in detail. To obtai...
Published on Nov 1, 2016in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology2.31
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Min Wang11
Estimated H-index: 11
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Han Hu6
Estimated H-index: 6
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
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 ‘longirostri...
Cited By3
Newest
Han Hu (UNE: University of New England (United States)), Gabriele Sansalone4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UNE: University of New England (United States))
+ 5 AuthorsZHOUZhonghe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Most living birds exhibit cranial kinesis—movement between the rostrum and braincase—in which force is transferred through the palatal and jugal bars. The palate alone distinguishes the Paleognathae from the Neognathae, with cranial kinesis more developed in neognaths. Most previous palatal studies were based on 2D data and rarely incorporated data from stem birds despite great interest in their kinetic abilities. Here we reconstruct the vomer of the Early Cretaceous stem bird Sapeornis and the ...
Published on Jul 1, 2019in Current Biology9.19
Jingmai K. O’Connor9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
(LYU: Linyi University)
+ 4 AuthorsZHOUZhonghe47
Estimated H-index: 47
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Summary Direct indicators of diet and predator-prey relationships are exceedingly rare in the fossil record [ 1 , 2 ]. However, it is through such traces that we can best understand trophic interactions in ancient ecosystems [ 3 ], confirm dietary inferences derived from skeletal morphologies [ 4 ], and clarify behavioral and ecological interpretations [ 5 ]. Here, we identify a previously unrecognized lizard species in the abdomen of a specimen of Microraptor zhaoianus , a small, volant dromaeo...
Published on Oct 1, 2018in Cretaceous Research2.12
E. E. Perkovsky11
Estimated H-index: 11
,
Ekaterina B. Sukhomlin1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
N. V. Zelenkov10
Estimated H-index: 10
Abstract Ugolyakia kaluginae gen. et sp. nov. is described from Ugolyak (Santonian Taimyr amber), based primarily on its unbranched Rs and developed katepisternal sulcus. It is attributed to the tribe Simuliini, although it lacks calcipala and spiniform seta on the costal vein characteristic of most genera of the tribe. Possession of a claw with a large subbasal tooth and absence of significant sclerotization of the sternites suggest that U. kaluginae females were blood-sucking avian parasites. ...
Published on May 1, 2018in Nature43.07
Daniel J. Field13
Estimated H-index: 13
(University of Bath),
Michael Hanson3
Estimated H-index: 3
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
+ 5 AuthorsBhart-Anjan S. Bhullar14
Estimated H-index: 14
(AMNH: American Museum of Natural History)
The skull of living birds is greatly modified from the condition found in their dinosaurian antecedents. Bird skulls have an enlarged, toothless premaxillary beak and an intricate kinetic system that includes a mobile palate and jaw suspensorium. The expanded avian neurocranium protects an enlarged brain and is flanked by reduced jaw adductor muscles. However, the order of appearance of these features and the nature of their earliest manifestations remain unknown. The Late Cretaceous toothed bir...
View next paperFirst report of gastroliths in the Early Cretaceous basal bird Jeholornis