We describe a new avian taxon (Sanshuiornis zhangi gen. et sp. nov.) from Middle Eocene black oil shales in the Huayong Formation of Guangdong Province, south China. The specimen consists of a distal tibiotarsus and a complete foot with tarsometatarsus and pedal digits in articulation. A preliminary phylogenetic analysis does not resolve the affinities of the fossil, but the bones show resemblances to some “ciconiiform” birds. The peculiar hypotarsus morphology, which is block-like and exhibits four cristae, resembles that of the early Eocene Rhynchaeites, which is a stem group representative of the Threskiornithidae. The new Chinese fossil has, however, proportionally longer legs than Rhynchaeites and its phylogenetic affinities probably cannot be resolved without further material.
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