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Petrel-like birds with a peculiar foot morphology from the Oligocene of Germany and Belgium (Aves: Procellariiformes)
Mayr, G.; Peters, D.S.; Rietschel, S. (2002). Petrel-like birds with a peculiar foot morphology from the Oligocene of Germany and Belgium (Aves: Procellariiformes). J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 22(3): 667-676. dx.doi.org/10.1671/0272-4634(2002)022[0667:PLBWAP]2.0.CO;2
In: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology: Norman, Okla.. ISSN 0272-4634, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Mayr, G.
  • Peters, D.S.
  • Rietschel, S.

Abstract
    New specimens of procellariiform birds are described from the Oligocene of Germany and Belgium, including a virtually complete and extraordinarily well preserved articulated skeleton. These birds show a peculiar foot morphology which to a striking degree resembles that of the recent Polynesian Storm-petrel Nesofregetta fuliginosa (Oceanitinae, Hydrobatidae). The pedal phalanges are dorso-ventrally compressed and especially the proximal phalanx of the fourth toe is grotesquely widened. The Oligocene Procellariiformes trenchantly differ, however, from Nesofregetta, the closely related genus Fregetta, and all other taxa of recent Hydrobatidae in the remainder of the skeleton. Possibly the feet served as a brake for rapid stops in order to catch prey, and we consider the similarities to Nesofregetta to be a striking example of convergence among birds. The specimens described in this study are referred to Diomedeoides brodkorbi, D. lipsiensis, and to Diomedeoides sp. The genus Frigidafons is a junior synonym of Diomedeoides, and Diomedeoides minimus is a junior synonym of Diomedeoides (= "Gaviota") lipsiensis. An incomplete articulated specimen of Diomedeoides brodkorbi is of special taphonomic interest, since in the close vicinity of its left wing two fairly large shark teeth can be discerned which probably stuck in the soft tissues of the bird when it was embedded in the sediment.

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