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Avian Paleontology at the Close of the 20th Century: Proceedings of the 4th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution, Washington D.C., 4-7 June 1996
Storrs L. Olson, editor
344 pages, 169 figures, 49 tables
1999 (Date of Issue: 14 December 1999)
Number 89, Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology
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The 32 papers collected herein reflect the great diversity and interest that the study of fossil birds has generated in recent years. The first seven papers (Mourer-Chauviré et al., Worthy and Jouventin, Seguí and Alcover, Steadman and Hilgartner, Millener, Worthy, Pavia) relate to late Quaternary birds from islands, where human intervention in the last few thousand years has caused many heretofore unrecorded extinctions. Three papers on Quaternary avifaunas of continental Europe deal with distributional changes and cultural use of birds by humans in Siberia (Potapova and Panteleyev), the utility of patterns of seabird distribution in determining former marine climatic conditions (Tyrberg), and temporal changes in morphology of ptarmigans (Lagopus) through the late Pleistocene (Stewart). Three papers deal with late Cenozoic raptors (Campbell et al., Tambussi and Noriega, Emslie and Czaplewski). New genera from Paleogene deposits are described by Boles and Ivison, Karhu, and Peters. Five papers deal with ancient waterfowl. Alvarenga describes the first fossil screamer (Anhimidae) from the Oligocene of Brazil. Olson provides the first fossil records of the Anseranatidae, with the description of a new species from the early Eocene of England, which is referred to Anatalavis from the Paleocene/Cretaceous of New Jersey. Ericson provides the means to distiguish Eocene fossils of the duck-like Presbyornis from the flamingo-like Juncitarsus and gives new records of the latter. Benson shows that the Paleocene Presbyornis isoni once ranged from Maryland to North Dakota, and he gives records of other Paleocene birds from North Dakota. Hope names a new, larger species of Graculavus, extending the range of the genus from New Jersey to the Cretaceous of Wyoming.

The early history and evolution of birds receives great attention. Dzerzhinsky expands upon the significance of cranial morphology in paleognathous birds. Kurochkin relates the early Cretaceous genus Ambiortus to the Chinese Otogornis, which are supposed to be on a line with modern birds, as opposed to the Enantiornithes. Bochenski uses paleogeography to suggest that the Enantiornithes must antedate Archaeopteryx. Zhou and Martin show that the manus of Archaeopteryx is more bird-like than previously realized. Martin and Stewart use bird teeth to argue against dinosaurian origins for Aves, whereas Elzanowski diverges on various aspects of dinosaurian cranial morphology and that of early birds that may have evolutionary significance. Witmer, Chiappe, and Goslow present summaries of three sessions of a roundtable discussion on avian origins, early evolution of birds, and the origins of flight, which was held on June 7, the last day of the meeting, and which covered much controversial territory.

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