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The first specimen of Archaeopteryx from the Upper Jurassic Mornsheim Formation of Germany
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolution and Developmental Biology. Univ Pavol Jozef Safarik, Ctr Interdisciplinary Biosci Technol & Innovat Pk, Kosice, Slovakia.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9361-2273
Univ Manchester, Sch Earth & Environm Sci, Manchester, Lancs, England.
Uppsala University, Music and Museums, Museum of Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3128-3141
Chinese Acad Geol Sci, Key Lab Stratig & Paleontol, Inst Geol, Minist Land Resources, Beijing, Peoples R China.
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2019 (English)In: Historical Biology, ISSN 0891-2963, E-ISSN 1029-2381, Vol. 31, no 1, p. 3-63Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

From an initial isolated position as the oldest evolutionary prototype of a bird, Archaeopteryx has, as a result of recent fossil discoveries, become embedded in a rich phylogenetic context of both more and less crownward stem-group birds. This has prompted debate over whether Archaeopteryx is simply a convergently bird-like non-avialan theropod. Here we show, using the first synchrotron microtomographic examination of the genus, that the eighth or Daiting specimen of Archaeopteryx possesses a character suite that robustly constrains it as a basal avialan (primitive bird). The specimen, which comes from the Mornsheim Formation and is thus younger than the other specimens from the underlying Solnhofen Formation, is distinctive enough to merit designation as a new species, Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi sp. nov., but is recovered in close phylogenetic proximity to Archaeopteryx lithographica. Skeletal innovations of the Daiting specimen, such as fusion and pneumatization of the cranial bones, well vascularized pectoral girdle and wing elements, and a reinforced configuration of carpals and metacarpals, suggest that it may have had more characters seen in flying birds than the older Archaeopteryx lithographica. These innovations appear to be convergent on those of more crownward avialans, suggesting that Bavarian archaeopterygids independently acquired increasingly bird-like traits over time. Such mosaic evolution and iterative exploration of adaptive space may be typical for major functional transitions like the origin of flight.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD , 2019. Vol. 31, no 1, p. 3-63
Keywords [en]
Aves, Avialae, Tithonian, origin of birds, flight, evolution, development, phylogeny, synchrotron microtomography
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-369376DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2018.1518443ISI: 000448258500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-369376DiVA, id: diva2:1278731
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-01-15 Created: 2019-01-15 Last updated: 2019-01-15Bibliographically approved

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Kundrát, MartinKear, Benjamin P.Ahlberg, Per
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