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Large euenantiornithine birds from the Cretaceous of southern France, North America and Argentina

  • C. A. WALKER (a1), E. BUFFETAUT (a2) and G. J. DYKE (a3)

We review historical approaches to the systematics of Enantiornithes, the dominant birds of the second half of the Mesozoic, and describe the forelimb remains of a new Cretaceous euenantiornithine. This taxon is known on the basis of fossil specimens collected from southern France, Argentina and the United States; such a wide geographical distribution is uncharacteristic for Enantiornithes as most taxa are known from single localities. Fossils from the Massecaps locality close to the village of Cruzy (Hérault, southern France), in combination with elements from New Mexico (USA) and from the Argentine locality of El Brete (Salta Province) testify to the global distribution of large flighted euenantiornithine birds in the Late Cretaceous. We discuss the systematics and taxonomy of additional isolated bones of Enantiornithes that were collected from the Argentine El Brete locality in the 1970s; the presence of these flying birds in Cretaceous rocks on both sides of the equator, in both northern and southern hemispheres, further demonstrates the ubiquity of this avian lineage by the latter stages of the Mesozoic.

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Geological Magazine
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