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A survey of the paleogene birds of asia

A survey of the paleogene birds of asia

Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology (27): 75-86

In the past few years, much new material of Paleogene birds has been collected in Mongolia and Kazakhstan [USSR] the fossil collections now comprising 350 satisfactory specimens of postcranial elements. The 1st Paleocene birds known from Asia were obtained in Mongolia, where remains referable to several avian orders were recovered. Fossils from a new Middle Eocene site at Khaichin Ula 2, also situated in the S Gobi of Mongolia, were identified as various waterbirds and galliforms. A variety of birds is represented in early Oligocene material from Mongolia and a wealth of new avian material of Middle Oligocene age has been obtained from the so-called Indricotherium beds of Central Kazakhstan. Paleoecological conditions in the Asian Paleogene are assessed on the basis of avian fossils, and the sketchy picture of the possible interrelationships of Paleogene birds from Asia, Europe and North America is outlined. Abundant new fossil material has made possible a deeper insight into the composition, characteristics, and relationships of the gruiform families Eogruidae and Ergilornithidae, and proves the existence of a phylogenetic continuity between the Eocene genus Eogrus, the Oligocene genera Ergilornis and Proergilornis, and the Pliocene genus Urmiornis. A fragment of humerus assigned to the Ergilornithidae shows that these birds were flightless.

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Accession: 004638023

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