Case Vincent Miller
Quantitative investigation of pengornithid enantiornithine diet reveals macrocarnivorous ecology evolved in birds by Early Cretaceous
Miller, Case Vincent; Pittman, Michael; Wang, Xiaoli; Zheng, Xiaoting; Bright, Jen A.
Dr Jen Bright J.Bright@hull.ac.uk
Lecturer in Zoology
The diet of Mesozoic birds is poorly known, limiting evolutionary understanding of birds’ roles in modern ecosystems. Pengornithidae is one of the best understood families of Mesozoic birds, hypothesized to eat insects or only small amounts of meat. We investigate these hypotheses with four lines of evidence: estimated body mass, claw traditional morphometrics, jaw mechanical advantage, and jaw finite element analysis. Owing to limited data, the diets of Eopengornis and Chiappeavis remain obscure. Pengornis, Parapengornis, and Yuanchuavis show adaptations for vertebrate carnivory. Pengornis also has talons similar to living raptorial birds like caracaras that capture and kill large prey, which represents the earliest known adaptation for macrocarnivory in a bird. This supports the appearance of this ecology ∼35 million years earlier than previously thought. These findings greatly increase the niche breadth known for Early Cretaceous birds, and shift the prevailing view that Mesozoic birds mainly occupied low trophic levels.
Miller, C. V., Pittman, M., Wang, X., Zheng, X., & Bright, J. A. (2023). Quantitative investigation of pengornithid enantiornithine diet reveals macrocarnivorous ecology evolved in birds by Early Cretaceous. iScience, 26(3), Article 106211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2023.106211
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Feb 13, 2023|
|Online Publication Date||Feb 15, 2023|
|Publication Date||Mar 17, 2023|
|Deposit Date||Mar 21, 2023|
|Publicly Available Date||Mar 23, 2023|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|Keywords||Ornithology; Evolutionary biology; Paleobiology|
Publisher Licence URL
© 2023 The Author(s).<br /> This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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