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Phylogenetic affinities and morphology of the late Eocene anseriform bird Romainvillia stehlini Lebedinsky, 1927

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For the first time since its original description, the late Eocene anseriform bird Romainvillia stehlini Lebedinsky, 1927 is restudied and comparisons with other Paleogene Anseriformes are made. A lectotype is designated and the previously unknown humerus described. In contrast to recent hypotheses that R. stehlini is a member of Anseranatidae (magpie geese), the species can be unambiguously identified as a stem group representative of the Anatidae (swans, geese, and ducks). R. stehlini is clearly distinguished from the early Eocene anseranatid Anatalavis oxfordi Olson, 1999 in all known skeletal elements, and a phylogenetic analysis supports a clade (Presbyornithidae + (Romainvillia + Anatidae)). In combining Presbyornis-like wing bones with a duck-like coracoid and tarsometatarsus, R. stehlini represents a morphological link between the highly aberrant long-legged Presbyornithidae and crown group Anatidae.
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Keywords: ANSERIFORMES; FOSSIL BIRDS; FRANCE; PHYLOGENY; PRESBYORNITHIDAE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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