Project 3665: D. J. Field, J. Benito, A. Chen, J. W. Jagt, D. T. Ksepka. 2020. Late Cretaceous neornithine from Europe illuminates the origins of crown birds. Nature. 579 (7799):397-401.
Specimen: † Asteriornis maastrichtensis (unvouchered)
View: 2D reconstruction

Abstract

Our understanding of the earliest stages of crown bird evolution is hindered by an exceedingly sparse avian fossil record from the Mesozoic era. The most ancient phylogenetic divergences among crown birds are known to have occurred in the Cretaceous period1,2,3, but stem-lineage representatives of the deepest subclades of crown birds—Palaeognathae (ostriches and kin), Galloanserae (landfowl and waterfowl) and Neoaves (all other extant birds)—are unknown from the Mesozoic era. As a result, key questions related to the ecology4,5, biogeography3,6,7 and divergence times1,8,9,10 of ancestral crown birds remain unanswered. Here we report a new Mesozoic fossil that occupies a position close to the last common ancestor of Galloanserae and fills a key phylogenetic gap in the early evolutionary history of crown birds10,11. Asteriornis maastrichtensis, gen. et sp. nov., from the Maastrichtian age of Belgium (66.8–66.7 million years ago), is represented by a nearly complete, three-dimensionally preserved skull and associated postcranial elements. The fossil represents one of the only well-supported crown birds from the Mesozoic era12, and is the first Mesozoic crown bird with well-represented cranial remains. Asteriornis maastrichtensis exhibits a previously undocumented combination of galliform (landfowl)-like and anseriform (waterfowl)-like features, and its presence alongside a previously reported Ichthyornis-like taxon from the same locality13 provides direct evidence of the co-occurrence of crown birds and avialan stem birds. Its occurrence in the Northern Hemisphere challenges biogeographical hypotheses of a Gondwanan origin of crown birds3, and its relatively small size and possible littoral ecology may corroborate proposed ecological filters4,5,9 that influenced the persistence of crown birds through the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.


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Article DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2096-0
This project containsMatrices
  • 1 Media
  • 1 Matrix
  • 39 Taxa
  • 1 Specimen
  • 297 Characters
Total size of project's media files: 77.21k

Download Project SDD File
Total scored cells: 9819
Total media associated with cells: 0
Total labels associated with cell media: 0
Characters
Total characters: 297
Total characters with associated media: 0
Total characters with media with labels: 0
Total character states: 716
Total character states with associated media: 0
Total character states with media with labels:0
Total unordered/ordered characters:233/64
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MorphoBank Project 3665
  • Creation Date:
    18 March 2020
  • Publication Date:
    18 March 2020
  • Project views: 103

    This research
    supported by

    Authors' Institutions

    • University of Cambridge

    • University of Bath

    • Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht

    • Bruce Museum



    Members

    member name taxa specimens media chars character
    media
    labels
    cell scorings
    (scored, NPA, "-")
    cell
    medialabels
    rules
    MorphoBank Curator
    Project Administrator
    Last logged in 03/18/20
    3911297009819
    (9466, 0, 353)
    000
    Daniel Field
    Full membership
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    Taxonomic Overview for Matrix 'M26512' (39 Taxa)

    taxon unscored
    cells
    scored
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    NPA
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    "-" cellscell images labels on
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    [1] † Ichthyornis dispar
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    7522322002002
    [2] Tinamus robustus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    528928903002
    [3] † Vegavis iaai
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    15514014002002
    [4] Chauna torquata
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    129429303002
    [5] Anhima cornuta
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    129429303002
    [6] † Wilaru tedfordi
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    12616916902002
    [7] † Presbyornis pervetus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    3625925902002
    [8] † Conflicto antarcticus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    13216416401002
    [9] † Anatalavis oxfordi
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    18211311302002
    [10] Anseranas semipalmata
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    229329302002
    [11] Dendrocygna eytoni
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    229429401002
    [12] Cereopsis novaehollandiae
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    029629601002
    [13] Anser caerulescens
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    229429401002
    [14] Tadorna tadornoides
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    029629601002
    [15] Leipoa ocellata
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    329329301002
    [16] Megapodius reinwardt
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    1128528501002
    [17] Megapodius eremita
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    1128528501002
    [18] Alectura lathami
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    029629601002
    [19] Macrocephalon maleo
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    629029001002
    [20] Gallus gallus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    029929601002
    [21] Phasianus colchicus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    629029001002
    [22] Coturnix pectoralis
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    629029001002
    [23] Acryllium vulturinum
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    629129001002
    [24] Crax rubra
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    329329202002
    [25] Ortalis vetula
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    129529501002
    [26] Dromaius novaehollandiae
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    1215215081002
    [27] Dinornis robustus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    16193193088002
    [28] Struthio camelus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    2204204091002
    [29] † Lithornis promiscuus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    2726626604002
    [30] † Lithornis plebius
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    7322022004002
    [31] † Paracathartes howardae
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    9519919903002
    [32] Burhinus grallarius
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    128928907002
    [33] Porphyrio melanotus
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    029029007002
    [34] Antigone rubicunda
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    129029006002
    [35] Cariama cristata
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    228828609002
    [36] † Asteriornis maastrichtensis
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    239575701002
    [37] † Gallinuloides wyomingensis
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    204919102002
    [38] † Pelagornis chilensis
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    12916116107002
    [39] † Protodontopteryx ruthae
    Last Modified in 03/18/20
    214787805002


    Project views

    type number of views Individual items viewed (where applicable)
    Total project views103
    Project overview40
    Specimen list8
    Matrix views11Character-taxon matrix: Nexus file used for the phylogenetic analyses. (4 views); Matrix landing page (7 views);
    Media views17Media search (14 views); M686959 (3 views);
    Bibliography3
    Views for media list5
    Taxon list19




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