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1 January 2012 Two Old World Vultures from the Middle Pleistocene of Northeastern China and their Implications for Interspecific Competition and Biogeography of Aegypiinae
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Abstract
Two new fossil crania of Old World vultures (Accipitridae, Aegypiinae), from the middle Pleistocene Jinniushan site of Liaoning Province, northeastern China, were studied. A new species of Aegypius, A. jinniushanensis, is erected and characterized by possessing a less developed processus zygomaticus and processus suprameaticus, as well as a relatively larger condylus occipitalis, compared with A. monachus. Another specimen, assigned to Torgos, is the first record of this genus from outside Africa. The presence of two large vultures, apparently in the same feeding group, in the Jinniushan faunal assemblage suggests that there were more opportunities for interspecific competition among scavengers in the middle Pleistocene of northeastern China than at present. By analogy with phylogenetically related modern vultures, we suggest that niche differentiation between the two extinct species may have reduced the degree of competition between them. The disappearance of the genus Torgos from northeast China might be the result of the Pleistocene extinction of a suite of large mammalian herbivores, and the loss of grassland and savannah from this region.
© 2012 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Zihui Zhang, Yunping Huang, Helen F. James and Lianhai Hou "Two Old World Vultures from the Middle Pleistocene of Northeastern China and their Implications for Interspecific Competition and Biogeography of Aegypiinae," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32(1), (1 January 2012). https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2012.624146
Received: 5 July 2011; Accepted: 1 September 2011; Published: 1 January 2012
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