Article: A large owl from the Palaeocene of France
Strigiformes have a very long palaeontological history and were much more diversified in the past than they are at present. Berruornis orbisantiqui gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Palaeocene (Thanetian) of the Reims area, is a large owl, with a stout tarsometatarsus. It belongs to the Sophiornithidae, previously described from the Upper Eocene to Upper Oligocene of the Phosphorites du Quercy, France. The comparison of the distal part of the tarsometatarsus in different extinct forms shows a general trend towards a progressively more semizygodactyl foot, with an internal trochlea more posteriorly oriented, and an external trochlea more medially incurved; correspondingly the size of the internal trochlea compared with the middle trochlea decreases.