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A skeleton of a small rail from the Rupelian of Poland adds to the diversity of early Oligocene Ralloidea

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The Paleogene fossil record of rails (Sarothruridae and Rallidae) is very scanty. Here we describe a postcranial skeleton of a new rail from the early Oligocene locality Jamna Dolna in southeastern Poland. Although the preservation of the bones is poor, the fossil constitutes the most substantial record of a Paleogene rail. The new specimen is clearly distinguished from the coeval taxon Belgirallus, the only other temporally well-constrained early Oligocene rail. Neither Belgirallus nor the new Oligocene rail appear to have been directly ancestral to the rallid crown group taxa found in Europe today. A well-based phylogenetic placement of the new fossil is, however, impeded by its unusual character mosaic and the fact that morphological apomorphies are unknown for the ralloid subclades resulting from sequence-based phylogenies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2016

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