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A New Enantiornithine Bird with Unusual Pedal Proportions Found in Amber

Published on Jul 1, 2019in Current Biology 9.19
· DOI :10.1016/j.cub.2019.05.077
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Jingmai K. O’Connor9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 5 AuthorsFuming Lei (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
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Abstract
Summary Recent discoveries of vertebrate remains trapped in middle Cretaceous amber from northern Myanmar [ 1 , 2 ] have provided insights into the morphology of soft-tissue structures in extinct animals [ 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 ], in particular, into the evolution and paleobiology of early birds [ 4 , 8 , 9 ]. So far, five bird specimens have been described from Burmese amber: two isolated wings, an isolated foot with wing fragment, and two partial skeletons [ 4 , 8 , 9 , 10 ]. Most of these specimens contain the remains of juvenile enantiornithine birds [ 4 ]. Here, we describe a new specimen of enantiornithine bird in amber, collected at the Angbamo locality in the Hukawng Valley. The new specimen includes a partial right hindlimb and remiges from an adult or subadult bird. Its foot, of which the third digit is much longer than the second and fourth digits, is distinct from those of all other currently recognized Mesozoic and extant birds. Based on the autapomorphic foot morphology, we erect a new taxon, Elektorornis chenguangi gen. et sp. nov. We suggest that the elongated third digit was employed in a unique foraging strategy, highlighting the bizarre morphospace in which early birds operated.
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References33
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Published on Jan 30, 2019in Scientific Reports 4.01
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Ryan C. McKellar12
Estimated H-index: 12
(KU: University of Kansas)
+ 3 AuthorsLuis M. Chiappe45
Estimated H-index: 45
(Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)
Over the last three years, Burmese amber (~99 Ma, from Myanmar) has provided a series of immature enantiornithine skeletal remains preserved in varying developmental stages and degrees of completeness. These specimens have improved our knowledge based on compression fossils in Cretaceous sedimentary rocks, adding details of three-dimensional structure and soft tissues that are rarely preserved elsewhere. Here we describe a remarkably well-preserved foot, accompanied by part of the wing plumage. ...
Published on Dec 1, 2018in Scientific Reports 4.01
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Edward L. Stanley9
Estimated H-index: 9
(Florida Museum of Natural History)
+ 1 AuthorsDavid C. Blackburn20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Florida Museum of Natural History)
Frogs are a familiar and diverse component of tropical forests around the world. Yet there is little direct evidence from the fossil record for the antiquity of this association. We describe four fossil frog specimens from mid-Cretaceous (~99 mya) amber deposits from Kachin State, Myanmar for which the associated fauna provides rich paleoenvironmental context. Microcomputed tomographic analysis provides detailed three-dimensional anatomy for these small frogs, which is generally unavailable for ...
Published on Dec 1, 2018in Journal of Palaeogeography
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Pierre F.D. Cockx1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Regina)
+ 1 AuthorsJingmai K. O’Connor9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Over the last 20 years, compression fossils of feathers surrounding dinosaurs have greatly expanded our understanding of the origin and evolution of feathers. One of the most peculiar feather morphotypes discovered to date are rachis dominated feathers (RDFs), which have also been referred to as proximally ribbon-like pennaceous feathers (PRPFs). These elongate feathers are only found in the tail plumage, typically occurring in pairs with both streamer (not proximally ribbon-like) and racket-plu...
Published on Nov 13, 2018in PeerJ 2.35
Jessie Atterholt4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Western University of Health Sciences),
J. Howard Hutchison16
Estimated H-index: 16
(University of California, Berkeley),
Jingmai K. O’Connor9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Published on Jul 1, 2018in Science Advances
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Michael W. Caldwell32
Estimated H-index: 32
(U of A: University of Alberta)
+ 9 AuthorsHongliang Shi1
Estimated H-index: 1
(BFU: Beijing Forestry University)
We present the first known fossilized snake embryo/neonate preserved in early Late Cretaceous (Early Cenomanian) amber from Myanmar, which at the time, was an island arc including terranes from Austral Gondwana. This unique and very tiny snake fossil is an articulated postcranial skeleton, which includes posterior precloacal, cloacal, and caudal vertebrae, and details of squamation and body shape; a second specimen preserves a fragment of shed skin interpreted as a snake. Important details of sk...
Published on Jul 1, 2018in Chinese Science Bulletin
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Published on Feb 1, 2018in Chinese Science Bulletin
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 7 AuthorsLIGang16
Estimated H-index: 16
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Abstract Cretaceous amber from Myanmar (∼99 Ma Burmese amber) has become a valuable supplement to the traditional skeletal record of small theropod dinosaurs preserved in sedimentary rocks, particularly for coelurosaurs and enantiornithines. The specimens recovered from this deposit preserve skeletal material and soft tissues in unmatched detail. This provides opportunities to study three-dimensional preservation of soft tissues, microstructure, and pigmentation patterns that are seldom availabl...
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 Nov 2, 2017in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 2.31
Han Hu6
Estimated H-index: 6
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
The Sihedang locality of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation is the only recognized ornithuromorph-dominated locality in the Jehol Group of north-eastern China. Here we report on the first enantiornithine from this locality and erect a new taxon Monoenantiornis sihedangia gen. et sp. nov. The holotype and only specimen preserves a rare ontogenetic stage in which the intermedium is ossified but free from the other proximal tarsals and the tibia, consistent with the pattern of ossification that ...
Published on Sep 1, 2017in Gondwana Research 6.48
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Jingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 4 AuthorsMing Bai15
Estimated H-index: 15
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Abstract Burmese amber has recently provided some detailed glimpses of plumage, soft tissues, and osteology of juvenile enantiornithine birds, but these insights have been restricted to isolated wing apices. Here we describe nearly half of a hatchling individual, based on osteological and soft tissue data obtained from the skull, neck, feet, and wing, and identified as a member of the extinct avian clade Enantiornithes. Preserved soft tissue provides the unique opportunity to observe the externa...
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