A New Specimen of the Fossil Palaeognath Lithornis from the Lower Eocene of Denmark

  title={A New Specimen of the Fossil Palaeognath Lithornis from the Lower Eocene of Denmark},
  author={Leona M. Leonard and Gareth J. Dyke and Marcel van Tuinen},
Abstract “Buy preparations?! [but] we have not enough money left to buy gunpowder”—comment of the British Prime Minister William Pitt during the Napoleonic Wars (recorded by Flower, 1898). The original holotype of Lithornis vulturinus was purchased by the British government in 1799 as part of a collection to “be maintained in its integrity to serve the education of the citizens”. Palaeognathous birds (Aves, Palaeognathae) are uncontroversially the most basal clade among modern birds (Neornithes… 

The Anatomy and Taxonomy of the Exquisitely Preserved Green River Formation (Early Eocene) Lithornithids (Aves) and the Relationships of Lithornithidae

It is concluded that there are only two lithornithid taxa in the Green River Formation after careful comparisons with the other known taxon from the same geological unit, Pseudocrypturus cercanaxius, and a monophyletic Lithornithidae is found as the sister taxon of Tinamidae at the base of Palaeognathae.


  • G. Mayr
  • Biology, Environmental Science
  • 2007
All of the sufficiently well-preserved avian taxa belong to terrestrial forms, and by its species poorness the Walbeck avifauna sharply contrasts with the very diverse avifaunas known from the earliest Eocene of Europe.

A new Messel rail from the Early Eocene Fur Formation of Denmark (Aves, Messelornithidae)

An interesting aspect of its morphology is the presence of limb specializations such as the extensive ossification of tendons—well known among running birds—that suggest the new Danish fossil may have been a ground bird with cursorial habits, a condition that was also previously hypothesized as typical for other Messel rails.

Osteoglossomorphs of the marine Lower Eocene of Denmark – with remarks on other Eocene taxa and their importance for palaeobiogeography

  • N. Bonde
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2008
Abstract The geological, faunal and palaeoecological conditions of the marine deposits from lowermost Eocene in North Jutland are briefly reviewed as background for the descriptions of six species of

Twenty-first century advances in knowledge of the biology of moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes): a new morphological analysis and moa diagnoses revised

A phylogenetic analysis based on morphological characters using a broader range of taxa and many more characters than hitherto used in moa analyses resulted in several strongly supported relationships, including monophyletic and sister to aepyornithids in the unconstrained analysis.

Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) birds and pterosaurs from the Cornet bauxite mine, Romania

Re-examination of collections in Oradea confirms the presence of both birds and pterosaurs in the Cornet bauxite: although the fragmentary bird remains are mostly indeterminate, one record of a hesperornithiform is confirmed.

A lithornithid (Aves: Palaeognathae) from the Paleocene (Tiffanian) of southern California

The proximal end of a bird humerus recovered from the Paleocene Goler Formation of southern California is the oldest Cenozoic record of this clade from the west coast of North America. The fossil is

Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion

A phylogenetic (cladistic) analysis of 150 taxa of Neornithes, including exemplars from all non-passeriform families, and subordinal representatives of Passeriformes, confirmed the topology among outgroup Theropoda and achieved robust resolution at virtually all levels of the NeornIthes.

The Evolution and Fossil Record of Palaeognathous Birds (Neornithes: Palaeognathae)

The extant diversity of the avian clade Palaeognathae is composed of the iconic flightless ratites (ostriches, rheas, kiwi, emus, and cassowaries), and the volant tinamous of Central and South

New Remains of Scandiavis mikkelseni Inform Avian Phylogenetic Relationships and Brain Evolution

X-ray computed tomography is used to present additional material of the previously described taxon Scandiavis mikkelseni and reassess its phylogenetic placement using a previously published dataset and provides novel insights into the osteological morphology and brain anatomy of ScandIAvis.



XX.—Description of the Fossil Remains of a Mammal (Hyracotherium leporinum) and of a Bird (Lithornis vulturinus) from the London Clay.

  • R. Owen
  • Environmental Science
    Transactions of the Geological Society
  • 1841
Plate XXI. Until the present year, the remains of the highest organized animals which were known to exist in the marine Eocene deposit called the London Clay, were those of Reptiles and Fishes; and

The Fossil Galliform Bird Paraortygoides from the Lower Eocene of the United Kingdom

The results of a preliminary phylogenetic analysis suggest that Paraortygoides is basal within Galliformes (as already proposed by Mayr [2000]); monophyly of the order is supported with Megapodiidae as the basal sister taxon with respect to the Cracidae and Phasianidae.

A New Carinate Bird from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina)

A new bird from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina), known from associated wing elements, is described and its phylogenetic position evaluated and it is named a new taxon Limenavis patagonica.

A phylogeny of the tinamous (aves: palaeognathiformes) based on integumentary characters.

A cladistic analysis of the tinamous, including the currently recognized species and some distinct subspecies, was conducted based on 80 integumentary characters from adult and natal plumage, ramphoteca (corneum sheath of bill), and podoteca (horny scales of legs), indicating a high degree of congruence between the two data sets.

Higher-Order Phylogenetics of Modern Aves Based On Comparative Anatomy

P phylogenetic analysis of Mesozoic and modern birds based on the under-utilized wealth of anatomical evidence and drawing primary strength from comparatively complete, neontological specimens, and a preliminary phylogenetic hypothesis based on osteological characters compiled to date are presented.

The deep divergences of neornithine birds: a phylogenetic analysis of morphological characters

A broad array of morphological characters (including both cranial and postcranial characters) are analyzed for an ingroup densely sampling Neornithes, with crown clade outgroups used to polarize these characters.

The Morphology and Phylogenetic Position of Apsaravis ukhaana from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia

The implications of Apsaravis ukhaana, and the results of the phylogenetic analysis, for the evolution of flight after its origin and character support for enantiornithine monophyly are extensively discussed.

A World Checklist of Birds

This book provides a list of 9,702 living avian species based on their 1990 book Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World and its 1993 Supplement and gives the Latin and English names for the species recognised in that work and in the Supplement.

Ostrich ancestors found in the Northern Hemisphere suggest new hypothesis of ratite origins

Newly studied fossils suggest that the ancestors of ostriches are instead among a group of North American and European birds, the ‘Lithornis-cohort’, that had the potential of flight and from which the kiwis may have arisen separately.

Complete mitochondrial DNA geonome sequences of extinct birds: ratite phylogenetics and the vicariance biogeography hypothesis

  • O. HaddrathA. Baker
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2001
Most of the major ratite lineages fit the vicariance biogeography hypothesis, the exceptions being the ostrich and the kiwi, which require dispersal to explain their present distribution.