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A femur of the Late Cretaceous giant bird Gargantuavis from Cruzy (southern France) and its systematic implications
Eric Buffetaut and Delphine Angst
Keywords: Aves; femur; France; Gargantuavis; Late Cretaceous

doi: 10.18563/pv.42.1.e3

    A large avian femur recently discovered at the Late Cretaceous Montplo-Nord locality at Cruzy (Hérault, southern France) is referred to the giant bird Gargantuavis philoinos. The estimated mass of the bird is 57 kg, within the range of living cassowaries. The specimen provides new evidence about the anatomy of G. philoinos, notably showing that the distal end of the femur was similar to that of modern birds in having a condylus lateralis subdivided into two semicondyles. A new diagnosis of Gargantuavis philoinos is provided and the taxon is placed in a new family of basal ornithurines.

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Published in Vol 42-1 (2019)

A reassessment of the giant birds Liornis floweri Ameghino, 1895 and Callornis giganteus Ameghino, 1895, from the Santacrucian (late Early Miocene) of Argentina.
Eric Buffetaut
Keywords: Argentina; Aves; Callornis; Liornis; Miocene

doi: 10.18563/pv.40.2.e3

    The status of the giant bird taxa Liornis floweri and Callornis giganteus from the Santa Cruz Formation (late Early Miocene) of Patagonia, first described by Ameghino (1895) is reassessed on the basis of a re-examination of the type material at the Natural History Museum, London. Liornis floweri, which lacks a Pons supratendineus on the tibiotarsus and has an unbifurcated Canalis interosseus distalis on the tarsometatarsus, is clearly a brontornithid and is considered as a junior synonym of Brontornis burmeisteri. Ameghino’s replacement of Callornis by Eucallornis is unjustified. Callornis giganteus is a chimera based on a phorusrhacid tarsometatarsus (probably belonging to Phorusrhacos longissimus) and a brontornithid tibiotarsus. The latter can be considered as the lectotype of Callornis giganteus, which may represent a small morph of Brontornis burmeisteri or a distinct taxon. It is referred to here as Brontornithidae indet. The tarsometatarsus described by Dolgopol de Saez (1927a,b) as Liornis minor and considered by her as a gracile brontornithid apparently has a bifurcated Canalis interosseus distalis and should therefore be placed among the Phorusrhacidae. 

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Published in Vol.40-2 (2016)

New remains of the giant bird Gargantuavis philoinos from the Late Cretaceous of Provence (south-eastern France)
Eric Buffetaut, Delphine Angst, Patrick Mechin and Annie Mechin-Salessy
Keywords: Aves; Gargantuavis; Late Cretaceous; Pelvis; South-eastern France

doi: 10.18563/pv.39.2.e3

    Two incomplete pelves of the giant bird Gargantuavis philoinos are described from Late Cretaceous deposits at Fox-Amphoux (Var, south-eastern France). They consist of synsacra with attached parts of the ilia. One of them has undergone considerable dorsoventral compression, which makes it very similar in appearance to the holotype pelvis of Gargantuavis philoinos from Campagne-sur-Aude (Aude, southern France). The second specimen has suffered some lateral distortion but is uncrushed dorsoventrally. Because of this, its avians characters (including an arched synsacrum and widespread pneumatisation) are especially clear. These new specimens confirm the avian nature of Gargantuavis and reveal new details about its pelvic anatomy, but provide little new evidence about its systematic position within Aves. The geographical distribution and general rarity of Gargantuavis are discussed.

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Published in Vol.39-2 (2015)

Palaeotis weigelti restudied : a small middle Eocene Ostrich (Aves : Struthioniformes)
Peter Houde and Hartmut Haubold
Keywords: Aves; Central Europe; Middle Eocene; Palaeotis; Struthioniformes

    Palaeotis weigelti, from the Middle Eocene of central Europe, is a flightless, paleognathous bird. It appears to be a member of the ostrich lineage on the basis of trivial derived characters. It is a very primitive ratite, however, and does not possess any of the highly specialized cursorial adaptations that characterize the modern steppe -and savanna- dwelling ostriches. 

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Published in Vol. 17, Fasc. 2 (1987)

Les oiseaux aquatiques (Gaviiformes à Anseriformes) du gisement Aquitanien de Saint-Gerand-le-Puy (Allier, France): Révision systématique.
Jacques Cheneval
Keywords: Aves; Early Miocene; Osteology; Palaeoecology; Systematics

    Six orders of birds adapted to aquatic life are represented among the numerous avifauna of "Saint-Gérand-le-Puy": Gaviiformes, Procellariiformes, Pelecaniformes, Ciconiiformes, Phoenicopteriformes, and Anseriformes. The present study of this avifauna proposes several changes in systematics:- Procellariiformes: Puffinus arvernensis does not belong in Procellariidae but in Diomodeidae, and it is transferred to the fossil genus Plotornis previously described in the Middle Miocene of France. - Pelecaniformes: Phalacrocorax littoralis remains in Phalacrocoracidae; P. míocaenus is different from the modern species, and is transferred to the new genus Nectornis. Empheresula arvernensis, described in the Oligocene deposits of Gannat, seems to be present in Saint-Gérand-le-Puy too. Pelecanus gracilis shows many differences from the modern species, and belongs to the new genus Miopelecanus, - Ciconiiformes: Ardea formosa nom. oblit. is a synonym of Proardeola walkeri. - Anseriformes: a new species closely related to swans is described, and belongs to the fossil genus Cygnopterus, of the Middle Oligocene of Europe; this species is called C. alphonsi. The ecology of each species is suggested by comparison with that of its nearest living relatives, and by study of osteological adaptations. 

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Published in Vol. 14, Fasc. 2 (1984)

Les Gruiformes (Aves) des phosphorites du Quercy (France). 1. sous-ordre cariamae (Cariamidae et Phorusrhacidae), systématique et biostratigraphie.
Cécile Mourer-Chauviré
Keywords: Aves; Biostratigraphy; Birds; Cariamae; gruiformes; Quercy phosphorites; Systematics

    The revision of the old collections of fossil birds from the “Phosphorites du Quercy” and the study of new material give the following results (Gruiformes, Cariamae) :  The humeri and most of the carpometacarpi described under the name Filholornis belong in Elaphrocnemus. The ulnae ascribed to Fïlholornis belong in Idiornis. Most of the post-cranial elements of the genera Elaphrocnemus and Idiornis are described and show great similarities with recent Cariamidae and Opisthocomidae, and fossil Bathornithinae.  A new genus and a new species, Oblitavis insolitus, are created in the sub-family Idiornithinae; two new species are described in the genera Elaphrocnemus (E. brodkorbz) and Idiornis (I. itardiensis), and the species Elaphrocnemus gracilis is transferred to the genus Idiornis.  The genus Propelargus Lydekker is transferred from the family Ciconiidae to Cariamidae.  A new generic name, Occitaniavis, is created for the species Geranopsis elatus, which belong in Cariamidae, while the type-species of the genus, Geranopsis hastingsiae, is a member of the Gruidae.  The affinities between the Quercy avifauna and the Neotropical one is emphasized by the occurrence of Phorusrhacidae, previously known only from the Cenozoic of South America and the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene of North America. Thanks to the material collected during the new excavations, the stratigraphical position of most of the species is stated precisely, and evolutionary lineages are outlined. This study shows that the suborder Cariamae, presently restricted to two South American genera, was already extremely diversified during the Eocene, and widespread in Europe and North America. 

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Published in Vol. 13, Fasc. 4 (1983)