A gigantic bird from the Upper Cretaceous of Central Asia
Darren Naish1, Gareth Dyke2,*, Andrea Cau3, François Escuillié4 and Pascal Godefroit5
1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK
2School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland
3Museo Geologico e Paleontologico ‘Giovanni Capellini’, Via Zamboni 63, 40126 Bologna, Italy
4Eldonia, 9 avenue des Portes Occitanes, 3800 Gannat, France
5Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, rue Vautier 29, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
*Author and address for correspondence: School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We describe an enormous Late Cretaceous fossil bird from Kazakhstan, known from a pair of edentulous mandibular rami (greater than 275 mm long), which adds significantly to our knowledge of Mesozoic avian morphological and ecological diversity. A suite of autapomorphies lead us to recognize the specimen as a new taxon. Phylogenetic analysis resolves this giant bird deep within Aves as a basal member of Ornithuromorpha. This Kazakh fossil demonstrates that large body size evolved at least once outside modern birds (Neornithes) and reveals hitherto unexpected trophic diversity within Cretaceous Aves.
Kazakhstan, Aves, phylogeny, Neornithes, anatomy
Received July 5, 2011.
Accepted July 20, 2011.
This journal is © 2011 The Royal Society
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