Apsaravis Norell & Clarke, 2001
Apsaravis Norell & Clark, 2001
(Nature (Lond) 409 (6817), 11 January: 181 NcZ)
up-suh-RAY-vis (Sanskrit apsara, a mythical winged being +
Lat. avis "bird")* (f)
named for the apsara (also called apsaras), female winged consorts in Buddhist and Hindu art.
Apsaravis is a primitive ornithurine bird known from a well preserved uncrushed,
partly articulated partial skeleton with a fragmentary skull (Holotype: IGM 100/1017
(Institute of Geology, Mongolia)) from the Late Cretaceous (?Campanian)
Ukhaa Tolgod site in southern Mongolia, dating from around 80 million years.
Apsaravis has a mosaic of primitive and advanced features. It is notable as
"the most basal avialan with an extensor process...related to the insertion
of the extensor carpi radialis muscle and the propatagial ligaments in Aves"-- features that
connect movement of the hand to movement of the forearm, with a key role in transition from
the upstroke to the downstroke in the flight of modern birds.
Other characters such as at least 10 ankylosed sacral vertebrae and the shape of the pelvis
also place it close to modern birds, with some relation to the ornithurine toothed bird
Ichthyornis, though Apsaravis may lack teeth. It also shares a number of
primitive plesiomorphies present in Enantiornithes and some theropod dinosaurs,
such as a strong concavity on the posterodorsal coracoid. Apsaravis comes
from a continental deposit, indicating that early ornithurine birds were not confined
to marine or near-shore environments as some earlier evidence suggested.
Type Species: Apsaravis ukhaana [oo-KAH-nuh] Norell & Clark, 2001:
(Ukhaa + Lat. - ana "belonging to") "from Ukhaa Tolgod," the type locality in southern Mongolia.
Ornithurae Late Cretaceous (?Campanian) Mongolia [added 3-2001]
Norell & Clarke, 2001|
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