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Towards completion of the early Eocene aviary: A new bird group from the Messel oil shale (Aves, Eopachypterygidae, fam. nov.)



A new avian species is described from the early Eocene Messel fossil site in Germany. Eopachypteryx praeterita, gen. et sp. nov. is a small bird and exhibits a characteristic morphology with a short and robust beak, a distinctively shaped coracoid, stout humerus, robust pectoral girdle skeleton, and short hindlimbs. Although similarities to the Paleogene Eocuculus as well as to some extant telluravian and strisorine taxa are noted, the phylogenetic affinities of the new species are unresolved. To account for the fact that the new species is clearly distinguished from any of the known fossil or extant avian taxa, it is here assigned to the new taxon Eopachypterygidae, fam. nov.. Eopachypteryx praeterita is represented by three partial skeletons. A further partial skeleton from Messel belongs to a second, unnamed species, which is tentatively referred to Eopachypteryx.



Aves, fossil, Eopachypterygidae, fam. nov., Eopachypteryx praeterita, gen. et sp. nov.

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