Pengornithidae

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Pengornithids
Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 130.7–120 Ma
Parapengornis holotype.png
Fossil specimen of Parapengornis eurycaudatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Clade: Enantiornithes
Family: Pengornithidae
Wang et al., 2014
Type genus
Pengornis
Zhou, Clarke, & Zhang, 2008
Genera

Pengornithidae is a group of early enantiornithines from the early Cretaceous Period of China. Specimens of these animals have been found both in the Huajiying Formation and Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning and Hebei provinces, dating from the Hauterivian age (130.7 million years ago) to the Aptian age (120 million years ago).[1]

Description

Pengornithids were primitive enantiornithes. They had many small teeth in their jaws, and stout legs. Their internal anatomy was characterized by a hooked outgrowth of the shoulder blade and a pygostyle (the tail bone to which long feathers attach) which was short and rounded, instead of long and blade-shaped as in other enantiornithes. While most enantiornithes had four long backward projections growing from their breastbones, pengornithids only had two.[2]

Ecology

The unique, rounded pygostyle and long, stiff tail feathers of pengornithids would have made their tail overall similar to that of woodpeckers. The feet of pengornithids were also particularly adapted for grasping branches. These features indicate that while pengornithids may not have been as adept at climbing as many modern birds, they were better climbers than many other enantiornithes.[2]

Classification

The cladogram below was found in the phylogenetic analysis of Hu et al. 2014.[2]


Enantiornithes 

Protopteryx

Elsornis

Rapaxavis

Iberomesornis

Shanweiniao

Longirostravis

Euenantiornithes

Boluochia

Longipteryx

Vescornis

Otogornis

Gobipteryx

Eocathayornis

Shenqiornis

Pengornithidae

Eopengornis

IVPP V18632

Parapengornis

Pengornis

Neuquenornis

Eoenantiornis

Liaoningornis

Eoalulavis

Concornis

Cathayornis

The cladogram below was found by an analysis by Wang et al. in 2015, updated from a previous data set created by Jingmai O'Connor.[3]

Ornithothoraces

Euornithes

Enantiornithes

Protopteryx

†Pengornithidae

Longipterygidae

Euenantiornithes

Eocathayornis

Elsornis

Dunhuangia

Fortunguavis

Bohaiornithidae

Pterygornis

Eoenantiornis

Cathayornis

Vescornis

Neuquenornis

Gobipteryx

Eoalulavis

Qiliania

Concornis

References

  1. ^ Wang, X.; O'Connor, J. K.; Zheng, X.; Wang, M.; Hu, H.; Zhou, Z. (2014). "Insights into the evolution of rachis dominated tail feathers from a new basal enantiornithine (Aves: Ornithothoraces)". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 113 (3): 805–819. doi:10.1111/bij.12313.
  2. ^ a b c Hu, Han; o'Connor, Jingmai K.; Zhou, Zhonghe (2015). "A New Species of Pengornithidae (Aves: Enantiornithes) from the Lower Cretaceous of China Suggests a Specialized Scansorial Habitat Previously Unknown in Early Birds". PLOS ONE. 10 (6): e0126791. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126791. PMC 4454694. PMID 26039693.
  3. ^ Wang, Hu; Li (2015). "A new small enantiornithine bird from the Jehol Biota, with implications for early evolution of avian skull morphology". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 14 (6): 1–17. doi:10.1080/14772019.2015.1073801.