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Article: Crane Grus fossils from the Maltese Pleistocene

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 27
Part: 4
Publication Date: December 1984
Page(s): 729 735
Author(s): E. Marjorie Northcote
Addition Information

How to Cite

NORTHCOTE, E. 1984. Crane Grus fossils from the Maltese Pleistocene. Palaeontology27, 4, 729–735.

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The Palaeontological Association (Free Access)


A coracoid (a syntype specimen) and a humerus, both of which are comparatively small, were formerly assigned to the large, extinct Pleistocene Maltese Crane Grus melitensis. They are reassigned to the much smaller extant Common Crane G. grus. This reidentification, supported by the discovery of additional Common Crane specimens from the Maltese Pleistocene, removes the evidence for maintaining, as previous authors have done, that the Maltese Crane had reduced flying power. This is the first record of Common Crane from the Maltese Pleistocene; it suggests that habitats with standing water existed on Malta c. 125,000 years ago. The reassignment of the coracoid leaves the syntypical series for G. melitensis with two bones; from these a tarsometatarsus is chosen as lectotype and an emended diagnosis is given. This bone has splayed trochleae and a broad eminentia that is not clearly demarcated from the area intercondylaris.
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