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1 March 2010 Quercypsitta-Like Birds from the Early Eocene of India (Aves, ?Psittaciformes)
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We report new avian remains from the early Eocene Cambay Formation of Vastan Lignite Mine in western India. Most of the bones belong to the as yet poorly known taxon Vastanavis, of which a new species, V. cambayensis, is described. For the first time, tarsometatarsi of Vastanavis can be identified, which show that this taxon had semi-zygodactyl feet. In overall morphology, Vastanavis closely resembles the species of the Quercypsittidae, which occur in the late Eocene of Europe and are considered stem group representatives of the parrots (Psittaciformes). Several plesiomorphic features indicate, however, that Vastanavis is outside a clade including Quercypsitta and crown group Psittaciformes, and we therefore assign it to a new family, Vastanavidae. Vastanavis corresponds well with an as yet undescribed avian species from the early Eocene London Clay in England, and we conclude that, at least concerning the arboreal taxa, the early Eocene avifauna of India shows some concordances with the much better known one from the early Eocene of Europe. We further describe a distal tarsometatarsus from Vastan Lignite Mine that superficially resembles that of extant New World vultures (Cathartidae), but comes from a roller-sized species.

© 2010 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Gerald Mayr, Rajendra S. Rana, Kenneth D. Rose, Ashok Sahni, Kishor Kumar, Lachham Singh, and Thierry Smith "Quercypsitta-Like Birds from the Early Eocene of India (Aves, ?Psittaciformes)," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(2), 467-478, (1 March 2010).
Received: 11 February 2009; Accepted: 1 May 2009; Published: 1 March 2010

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