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Vertebrata Palasiatica ›› 2023, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (2): 90-107.DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.230217

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A new specimen of Parabohaiornis martini (Avialae: Enantiornithes) sheds light on early avian skull evolution

WANG Min()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100044
  • Received:2023-01-04 Online:2023-04-20 Published:2023-04-18



  1. 中国科学院古脊椎动物与古人类研究所,中国科学院脊椎动物演化与人类起源重点实验室 北京 100044
  • 通讯作者: wangmin@ivpp.ac.cn
  • 基金资助:


The Enantiornithes is the most speciose clade of Mesozoic avialans with over 60 named taxa reported from most continents that span the whole Cretaceous. Most of the fossil remains of this clade, as well as those of other early diverging avialans are preserved in two-dimensions. This complicates efforts to extract detailed anatomical information from the skull, in which the composite elements are delicate and thus not easily observable through conventional methods. The scarcity of well-preserved early avialan skulls, as well as the limited number of specimens that have been analyzed using computed tomography scanning, consequently circumscribes a large morphological gap in the fossil record during the transition from the heavy and akinetic dinosaurian skull to the lightweight and kinetic bird skull. Here, we present a three-dimensional digital reconstruction of the skull and part of the cervical vertebrae of a new specimen of the enantiornithine Parabohaiornis martini from the Early Cretaceous of China. Our results demonstrate that Parabohaiornis retains the plesiomorphic non-avialan dinosaurian temporal and palatal configurations, reinforcing the recent hypothesis that the temporal and palatal regions are evolutionarily conservative and that the akinetic skull has been conserved well into diversification of early branching avialans.

Key words: Enantiornithes, Avialae, Bohaiornithidae, cranium, cranial kinesis


反鸟类是目前已知物种多样性最丰富的中生代鸟类类群,已有超过60个反鸟类物种在近乎所有的大洲相继被发现,其存续时间贯穿整个白垩纪。多数反鸟类以及其他早期鸟翼类的化石材料多以二维平面的形式保存,而且鸟翼类头骨的骨骼大都轻薄而不易保存为化石,这些因素对研究早期鸟类头骨的形态学特征造成很大困难。早期鸟翼类头骨化石的稀缺极大地限制了关于恐龙相对笨重和非可动性的头骨与鸟类质轻而具有可动性的头骨之间如何演化的研究。报道了一件反鸟类渤海鸟科马氏副渤海鸟(Parabohaiornis martini)的新标本,并对其头骨形态进行了三维复原。研究结果显示副渤海鸟保留了原始的非鸟类恐龙所具有的颞区和腭区结构,进一步证实了上述头骨区域在演化上相对保守,以及多数鸟翼类原始类群仍然保留了非可动性头骨这一最近提出的假说。

关键词: 反鸟类, 鸟翼类, 渤海鸟科, 头骨, 头骨可动性

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