Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Calcardea junnei Gingerich, 1987 from the late Paleocene of North America is not a heron, but resembles the early Eocene Indian taxon Vastanavis Mayr et al., 2007

  • Gerald Mayr (a1), Philip D. Gingerich (a2) and Thierry Smith (a3)

Abstract

We revisit the holotype of Calcardea junnei Gingerich, 1987 from the latest Paleocene (Clarkforkian) of the Willwood Formation (Wyoming, USA). The species is based on a partial skeleton and was originally assigned to the Ardeidae (herons). As we show, this classification cannot be upheld and Calcardea Gingerich, 1987 more closely resembles the taxon Vastanavis Mayr et al., 2007 (Vastanavidae), a parrot-like bird from the early Eocene of India. Even though C. junnei is a large bird, its long wings and short tarsometatarsus argue against a predominantly terrestrial way of living, and the morphology of the tarsometatarsus and pedal phalanges instead suggest strong grasping feet. We conclude that an assignment of Calcardea to the landbird clade (Telluraves) is better supported than its classification into the waterbird clade (Aequornithes), which includes Ardeidae and other ‘ciconiiform’ and ‘pelecaniform’ taxa. Calcardea junnei is one of the oldest known representatives of Telluraves and its morphology shows plesiomorphic features, which contributed to its previous misidentification as a heron. Calcardea exhibits a distinctive osteology and affords a glimpse of a previously unknown late Paleocene avian morphotype.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Alvarenga, H.M.F., 1985, Um novo Psilopteridae (Aves: Gruiformes) dos sedimentos Terciários de Itaboraí, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, in Campos, D.A., Ferreira, C.S., Brito, I.M., and Viana, C.F., eds., Anais do VIII Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia. MME-DNPM, Série Geologia 27, Paleontologia, Estratigrafia, v. 2, p. 1720.
Andors, A., 1992, Reappraisal of the Eocene groundbird Diatryma (Aves: Anserimorphae), in Campbell, K.E., ed., Papers in Avian Paleontology Honoring Pierce Brodkorb: Natural History Museun of Los Angeles County, Science Series, v. 36, p. 109125.
Bloch, J.I., and Boyer, D.M., 2001, Taphonomy of small mammals in freshwater limestones from the Paleocene of the Clarks Fork Basin: University of Michigan Papers in Paleontology, v. 33, p. 185198.
Cracraft, J., 1969, Systematics and evolution of the Gruiformes (Class, Aves), 1, The Eocene family Geranoididae and the early history of the Gruiformes: American Museum Novitates, v. 2388, p. 141.
Field, D.J., Bercovici, A., Berv, J.S., Dunn, R., Fastovsky, D.E., Lyson, T.R., Vajda, V., and Gauthier, J., 2018, Early evolution of modern birds structured by global forest collapse at the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: Current Biology, v. 28, p. 18251831, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.062.
Gingerich, P.D., 1987, Early Eocene bats (Mammalia, Chiroptera) and other vertebrates in freshwater limestones of the Willwood Formation, Clark's Fork Basin, Wyoming: Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, v. 27, p. 275320.
Gray, G.R., 1844–1849, The Genera of Birds: Comprising their Generic Characters, a Notice of the Habits of Each Genus, and an Extensive List of Species Referred to their Several Genera: London, Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 483 p.
Houde, P., 1988, Paleognathous birds from the early Tertiary of the Northern Hemisphere: Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, v. 22, p. 1148.
Houde, P., and Olson, S.L., 1992, A radiation of coly-like birds from the early Eocene of North America (Aves: Sandcoleiformes new order), in Campbell, K.E., ed., Papers in Avian Paleontology Honoring Pierce Brodkorb: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series, v. 36, p. 137160.
Ksepka, D.T., Stidham, T.A., and Williamson, T.E., 2017, Early Paleocene landbird supports rapid phylogenetic and morphological diversification of crown birds after the K-Pg mass extinction: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 114, p. 80478052, doi:10.1073/pnas.1700188114.
Latham, J., 1790, Index Ornithologicus, Sive, Systema Ornithologiae: Complectens Avium Divisionem in Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, Ipsarumque Varietates: Adjectis Synonymis, Locis, Descriptionibus, & c.: London, Leigh & Sotheby, 466 p.
Linnaeus, C., 1758, Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae (tenth edition), Volume 1, Regnum Animale: Stockholm, Laurentii Salvii, 824 p.
Manz, C.L., and Bloch, J.I., 2015, Systematics and phylogeny of Paleocene-Eocene Nyctitheriidae (Mammalia, Eulipotyphla?) with description of a new species from the late Paleocene of the Clarks Fork Basin, Wyoming, USA: Journal of Mammalian Evolution, v. 22, p. 307342, doi:10.1007/s10914-014-9284-3.
Mayr, G., 2002, An owl from the Paleocene of Walbeck, Germany: Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Geowissenschaftliche Reihe, v. 5, p. 283288, doi:10.1002/mmng.20020050117.
Mayr, G., 2007, The birds from the Paleocene fissure filling of Walbeck (Germany): Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 27, p. 394408, doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2007)27[394:TBFTPF]2.0.CO;2.
Mayr, G., 2009, Paleogene Fossil Birds, Heidelberg, Springer, 262 p.
Mayr, G., 2011, Metaves, Mirandornithes, Strisores, and other novelties—A critical review of the higher-level phylogeny of neornithine birds: Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, v. 49, p. 5876, doi:10.1111/j.1439—469.2010.00568.x.
Mayr, G., 2015, A reassessment of Eocene parrotlike fossils indicates a previously undetected radiation of zygodactyl stem group representatives of passerines (Passeriformes): Zoologica Scripta, v. 44, p. 587602, doi:10.1111/zsc.12128.
Mayr, G., 2016, On the taxonomy and osteology of the early Eocene North American Geranoididae (Aves, Gruoidea): Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, v. 135, p. 315325, doi:10.1007/s13358-016-0117-2.
Mayr, G., 2017, Avian Evolution: The Fossil Record of Birds and its Paleobiological Significance: Chichester, UK, Wiley-Blackwell, 293 p.
Mayr, G., and Clarke, J., 2003, The deep divergences of neornithine birds: A phylogenetic analysis of morphological characters: Cladistics, v. 19, p. 527553, doi:10.1016/j.cladistics.2003.10.003.
Mayr, G., Rana, R.S., Sahni, A., and Smith, T., 2007, Oldest fossil avian remains from the Indian subcontinental plate: Current Science, v. 92, p. 12661269.
Mayr, G., Rana, R.S., Rose, K.D., Sahni, A., Kumar, K., Singh, L., and Smith, T., 2010, Quercypsitta-like birds from the early Eocene of India (Aves, ?Psittaciformes): Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 30, p. 467478, doi:10.1080/02724631003617357.
Mayr, G., Rana, R.S., Rose, K.D., Sahni, A., Kumar, K., and Smith, T., 2013, New specimens of the early Eocene bird Vastanavis and the interrelationships of stem group Psittaciformes: Paleontological Journal, v. 47, p. 13081314, doi:10.1134/S0031030113110105.
Mayr, G., De Pietri, V.L., Scofield, R.P., and Smith, T., 2018a, A fossil heron from the early Oligocene of Belgium—The earliest temporally well-constrained record of the Ardeidae: Ibis, doi: 10.1111/ibi.12600.
Mayr, G., Hervet, S., and Buffetaut, E., 2018b, On the diverse and widely ignored Paleocene avifauna of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France): New taxonomic records and unusual soft tissue preservation: Geological Magazine, doi:10.1017/S0016756818000080.
Mourer-Chauviré, C., 1994, A large owl from the Palaeocene of France: Palaeontology, v. 37, p. 339348.
Rich, P.V., and Bohaska, D.J., 1981, The Ogygoptyngidae, a new family of owls from the Paleocene of North America: Alcheringa, v. 5, p. 95102.
Secord, R., Gingerich, P.D., Smith, M.E., Clyde, W.C., Wilf, P., and Singer, B.S., 2006, Geochronology and mammalian biostratigraphy of middle and upper Paleocene continental strata, Bighorn Basin, Wyoming: American Journal of Science, v. 306, p. 211245, doi:10.2475/ajs.306.4.211.
Smith, T., Kumar, K., Rana, R.S., Folie, A., Solé, F., Noiret, C., Steeman, T., Sahni, A., and Rose, K.D., 2016, New early Eocene vertebrate assemblage from western India reveals a mixed fauna of European and Gondwana affinities: Geoscience Frontiers, v. 7, p. 9691001, doi:10.1016/j.gsf.2016.05.001.
Spix, J.B.v., 1824, Avium Species Novae, Quas in Itinere per Brasiliam Annis MDCCCXVII–MDCCCXX Iussu et Auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I, Bavariae Regis Suscepto Collegit et Descripsit, Volume 1: Munich, Hübschmann, 90 p.
Wetmore, A., 1934, Fossil birds from Mongolia and China: American Museum Novitates, v. 711, p. 116.
Wetmore, A., 1938, Another fossil owl from the Eocene of Wyoming: Proceedings of the United States National Museum, v. 85, p. 2729.
Yuri, T., Kimball, R.T., Harshman, J., Bowie, R.C.K., Braun, M.J., Chojnowski, J.L., Han, K.-L., Hackett, S.J., Huddleston, C.-J., Moore, W.-S., Reddy, S., Sheldon, F.H., Steadman, D.W., Witt, C.C., and Braun, E.L., 2013, Parsimony and model-based analyses of indels in avian nuclear genes reveal congruent and incongruent phylogenetic signals: Biology, v. 2, p. 419444, doi:10.3390/biology2010419.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed