SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Enantiornithes;
  • Aves;
  • evolution;
  • Santonian;
  • Central Europe

Abstract

We review the previously described Late Cretaceous (Santonian) bird remains from the Csehbánya Formation in the Bakony Mountains of Hungary, augmenting initial work by Ősi (2008), and add a number of newly collected fossils. All together, the eight fossil specimens so far collected from this site are important to our understanding of avian evolution because they document a large range of taxon body sizes from at least one major lineage (Enantiornithes) and come from a critically undersampled time period in the Cretaceous. Globally, very little fossil bird material has been collected from the middle stages of the Late Cretaceous, the Coniacian and Santonian; most known taxa are either Early Cretaceous (ca. 120 Ma) in age or are from the terminal Campanian and Maastrichtian (ca. 70–65 Ma). Indeed, one of the Csehbánya Formation fossil birds is recognized as a new taxon of large enantiornithine, an avisaurid apparently similar in its largely unfused foot morphology to the Argentine Soroavisaurus and to the North American Avisaurus. The Central European records reviewed in this paper highlight the wide distribution of some Late Cretaceous fossil birds, particularly avisaurid enantiornithines, and lead us to a brief discussion of avian biogeography at the end of the Mesozoic. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.