Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

New bird remains from the Middle Eocene of Guangdong, China

Min Wang, Gerald Mayr, Jiangyong Zhang, and Zhonghe Zhou

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 57 (3), 2012: 519-526 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4202/app.2011.0061

Wedescribe 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.

Key words: Aves, Ciconiiformes, Threskiornithidae, Middle Eocene, China.

Min Wang [wangmin_nju@163.com], Jiangyong Zhang [zhangjiangyong@ivpp.ac.cn], and Zhonghe Zhou [zhonghe@yeah.net], Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China; Gerald Mayr [Gerald.Mayr@senckenberg.de], Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Sektion Ornithologie, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.