Did parrots exist in the Cretaceous period?

  title={Did parrots exist in the Cretaceous period?},
  author={Gareth J. Dyke and Gerald Mayr},
The timing of the origin of modern birds is much debated. The traditional view, based largely on the fossil record, suggests that most modern groups did not appear until the Tertiary, after the end-Cretaceous extinction event, but recent work, based on molecular divergence data, has suggested that most, or all, of the major clades were present in the Cretaceous,. Verification of the latter proposal awaits the discovery of modern bird fossils in the Mesozoic which can be confirmed on the basis… 


A wealth of recent discoveries combined with new phylogenetic analyses have documented the divergence of a number of lineages by the beginning of the Cretaceous, providing insights into the evolutionary development of feathers and other important features of the avian flight system.

The evolutionary radiation of modern birds (Neornithes): reconciling molecules, morphology and the fossil record

Current understanding of the early fossil history of Neornithes is highlighted in conjunction with available phylogenetic resolution for the major extant clades, as well as recent advancements in genetic methods that have constrained time estimates for major evolutionary divergences.

Avian evolution, Gondwana biogeography and the Cretaceous–Tertiary mass extinction event

  • J. Cracraft
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2001
The temporal history of the neornithines can be inferred from fossil taxa and the ages of vicariance events, and along with their biogeographical patterns, leads to the conclusion that neORNithines arose in Gondwanaprior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.


  • C. Brochu
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Journal of Paleontology
  • 2001
The basic structure of archosaurian phylogeny is understood to include two primary crown-group lineages—one leading to living crocodiles and including a broad diversity of Triassic animals and another leading to dinosaurs.

Palaeoecology (Communication arising): Fossils and avian evolution

This fossil record of Early Cretaceous ornithurines reveals birds that are closely related to the modern avian radiation, but the rarity of these species has meant that information about thesespecies has lagged behind.


  • H. James
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2005
MODERN GENERA OF birds arose mainly in the Neogene Period (1.8-23.8 mya), and modern species mainly in the Plio-Pleistocene (0.08-5.3 mya). Neogene fossil birds generally resemble modern taxa, and

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.

A New Presbyornithid Bird (Aves, Anseriformes) from the Late Cretaceous of Southern Mongolia

Describing Teviornis confirms the presence of members of the neornithine clade Anseriformes (“waterfowl”) in the Late Cretaceous, as has been suggested previously on the basis of much less diagnostic fossil material as well as from clade divergence estimates founded on molecular sequence data.

Timing the extant avian radiation: The rise of modern birds, and the importance of modeling molecular rate variation

How relationships between life-history and substitution rates can mislead divergence time studies that do not account for directional changes in substitution rates over time is discussed, and it is suggested that these effects might have caused some of the variation in existing molecular date estimates for birds.



Mass Survival of Birds Across the Cretaceous- Tertiary Boundary: Molecular Evidence

Data for several other terrestrial vertebrate groups indicate a similar pattern of survival and, taken together, favor incremental changes during a Cretaceous diversification of birds and mammals rather than an explosive radiation in the Early Tertiary.

Explosive Evolution in Tertiary Birds and Mammals

The traditional view of avian evolution over the past century is that of sluggish gradualism, in which many living orders of birds are thought to have originated from the mid-Cretaceous or so (1),

A lower jaw from a Cretaceous parrot

  • T. Stidham
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 1998
A toothless avian dentary symphysis (fused jawbone) from the latest Cretaceous of Wyoming, United States is described and appears to represent the oldest known parrot and is, to my knowledge, the first known fossil of a ‘terrestrial’ modern bird group from the Cret Jurassic.

Continental breakup and the ordinal diversification of birds and mammals

THE classical hypothesis for the diversification of birds and mammals proposes that most of the orders diverged rapidly in adaptive radiations after the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) extinction event 65


  • Leth .
  • 1998