Previously unrecognized ornithuromorph bird diversity in the Early Cretaceous Changma Basin, Gansu Province, northwestern China.

TitlePreviously unrecognized ornithuromorph bird diversity in the Early Cretaceous Changma Basin, Gansu Province, northwestern China.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWang Y-M, O'Connor JK, Li D-Q, You H-L
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue10
Paginatione77693
Date Published2013
Abstract

Here we report on three new species of ornithuromorph birds from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation in the Changma Basin of Gansu Province, northwestern China: Yumenornis huangi gen. et sp. nov., Changmaornis houi gen. et sp. nov., and Jiuquanornis niui gen. et sp. nov.. The last of these is based on a previously published but unnamed specimen: GSGM-05-CM-021. Although incomplete, the specimens can be clearly distinguished from each other and from Gansus yumenensis Hou and Liu, 1984. Phylogenetic analysis resolves the three new taxa as basal ornithuromorphs. This study reveals previously unrecognized ornithuromorph diversity in the Changma avifauna, which is largely dominated by Gansus but with at least three other ornithuromorphs. Body mass estimates demonstrate that enantiornithines were much smaller than ornithuromorphs in the Changma avifauna. In addition, Changma enantiornithines preserve long and recurved pedal unguals, suggesting an arboreal lifestyle; in contrast, Changma ornithuromorphs tend to show terrestrial or even aquatic adaptions. Similar differences in body mass and ecology are also observed in the Jehol avifauna in northeastern China, suggesting niche partitioning between these two clades developed early in their evolutionary history.

DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0078109
Alternate JournalPLoS ONE