The eggshell of the Eocene bird Lithornis

Grellet-Tinner, Gerald and Dyke, Gareth J. (2005) The eggshell of the Eocene bird Lithornis. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 50, (4), 831-835.


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Although the fossil bird Lithornis has been known for more than a century, only in the 1980s were its affinities within the palaeognathous birds (Aves, Palaeognathae) realized and demonstrated by use of osteological characters. Other lines of evidence could, however, be used to test hypotheses of its affinities. To add data to this ongoing investigation, we present the first detailed description of the microscopic morphology of the eggshell of this fossil bird. Our description of eggshells of two species of Lithornis is consistent with the placement of this fossil bird within Palaeognathae. Characters that corroborate this position include the presence of three aprismatic structural layers visible by use of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in the eggshell microstructure. The placement of Lithornis phylogenetically close to the extant flighted South American group Tinamidae is supported on the basis of characters present in the structural composition of the eggshell layers of both these taxa

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0567-7920 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: aves, palaeognathae, lithornis, eggshell ultrastructure, eocene, london clay
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions : Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences > Ocean and Earth Science > Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems
ePrint ID: 205239
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2011 15:23
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:47

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