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1 June 2007 THE BIRDS FROM THE PALEOCENE FISSURE FILLING OF WALBECK (GERMANY)
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Abstract

Almost 70 years after their discovery, more than 450 isolated avian bones from the Paleocene fissure filling of Walbeck are described. Fissuravis weigelti gen. et sp. nov. is represented by a coracoid with a very large cotyla scapularis and short processus acrocoracoideus and tentatively assigned to the palaeognathous Lithornithidae. Another coracoid of a large flightless bird, misidentified as a mammalian scapula before, is assigned to the Gastornithidae and is the earliest fossil record of this taxon. Most other bird bones from Walbeck belong to Walbeckornis creber gen. et sp. nov., which is represented by all major limb elements; this species resembles charadriiform birds and the ‘gruiform’ Messel-ornithidae, but its plesiomorphic morphology in combination with the poorly resolved higher level phylogeny of extant birds does not allow a definitive phylogenetic assignment. Several coracoids, humeri, and tarsometatarsi are assigned to Gradiornis walbeckensis gen. et sp. nov., which resembles some species of the Cariamae in overall morphology. A tarsometatarsus and a tentatively referred praemaxilla of the strigiform Berruornis are described as a new species, B. halbedeli. A few other unnamed taxa are represented by fragmentary remains. 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.

GERALD MAYR "THE BIRDS FROM THE PALEOCENE FISSURE FILLING OF WALBECK (GERMANY)," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(2), (1 June 2007). https://doi.org/10.1671/0272-4634(2007)27[394:TBFTPF]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 15 November 2006; Published: 1 June 2007
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