Article: A skull of the giant bony-toothed bird Dasornis (Aves: Pelagornithidae) from the Lower Eocene of the Isle of Sheppey
The first substantial skull of a very large Paleogene bony-toothed bird (Pelagornithidae) is described from the Lower Eocene London Clay of the Isle of Sheppey in England. The specimen is assigned to Dasornis emuinus (Bowerbank), based on a taxonomic revision of the large London Clay Pelagornithidae. Very large bony-toothed birds from the London Clay were known previously from fragmentary remains of non-comparable skeletal elements only, and Dasornis londinensis Owen, Argillornis emuinus (Bowerbank), A. longipennis Owen, and Neptuniavis miranda Harrison and Walker are considered junior synonyms of D. emuinus. The new specimen allows a definitive assignment of Dasornis to the Pelagornithidae and documents that this taxon closely resembles other bony-toothed birds in cranial morphology. It is hypothesized that giant size (i.e. a wingspan above 4 m) evolved only once within Pelagornithidae and that Dasornis emuinus is the sister taxon of the giant Neogene bony-toothed birds, which share a derived wing morphology.
Fossil birds • bony-toothed birds • Dasornis emuinus • taxonomy • evolution • Eocene