Abstract

A partial humerus, ulna, and radius compose the type specimen of a new bird, Piksi barbarulna, new genus and species, from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) Two Medicine Formation of western Montana. This ornithothoracine taxon differs from all other birds in having an enlarged dorsal epicondyle and a reduced ventral condyle on the humerus with corresponding modifications on the articular surface of the ulna. Among modern birds, Piksi is most similar to galliforms, but the paucity of unambiguous characters and its unusual morphology defy placement within any extant “order” and strongly questions any neornithine affinities. Instead, Piksi appears to have a fairly basal position within Ornithothoraces. Several morphologic features of Piksi occur in phylogenetically diverse but morphologically similar birds, such as galliforms, tinamous, and some columbiforms. The new bird comes from an inland, relatively dry paleo-environment. Atypical for a Cretaceous avian record dominated by waterfowl, Piksi appears to represents a heavy-bodied ground bird. Searching of inland depositional environments may yield new and ecologically distinct avian varieties.

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