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A nearly complete skeleton of the fossil galliform bird Palaeortyx from the late Oligocene of Germany

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Phasianid galliform birds do not occur in Europe before the end of the early Oligocene, and their Paleogene fossil record mainly comprises isolated bones. Here we describe a nearly complete and articulated skeleton of a phasianid galliform bird from the late Oligocene of Enspel in Germany. The specimen is assigned to Palaeortyx cf. gallica Milne-Edwards, 1869 and for the first time allows the recognition of cranial and pelvic details in a late Oligocene phasianid. Many gizzard stones are preserved in both the gizzard and the crop, and constitute the earliest fossil evidence for grit use in a phasianid galliform.

Keywords: FOSSIL BIRDS; GALLIFORMES; GIZZARD STONES; OLIGOCENE; PALAEORTYX

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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