Late Cretaceous bird from Madagascar reveals unique development of beaks - Nature.com
Nov 25, 2020 38 secs
Although Neornithine (that is, crown group) birds also exhibit constraint on facial development8,9, they have comparatively diverse beak morphologies associated with a range of feeding and behavioural ecologies, in contrast to Mesozoic birds

nov., from the Late Cretaceous epoch of Madagascar that possesses a long and deep rostrum, an expression of beak morphology that was previously unknown among Mesozoic birds and is superficially similar to that of a variety of crown-group birds (for example, toucans)

The patterning and increased height of the rostrum in Falcatakely reveals a degree of developmental lability and increased morphological disparity that was previously unknown in early branching avialans

Expression of this phenotype (and presumed ecology) in a stem bird underscores that consolidation to the neornithine-like, premaxilla-dominated rostrum was not an evolutionary prerequisite for beak enlargement


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