A new genus and species of a galliform bird from the Oligocene of Poland

Teresa Tomek, Zbigniew M. Bochenski, Krzysztof Wertz, and Ewa Swidnicka

Plain Language Abstract

With almost 300 species distinguished, the order Galliformes has a worldwide distribution. Some of the species have a very abundant fossil record, especially from the late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments. The oldest crown group Galliformes are Phasianidae and Megapodiidae, whose remains are dated to the late Oligocene. The Palaeogene fossil record of galliform birds is also rich and shows much diversity. Three extinct families (Gallinuloididae, Paraortygidae, and Quercymegapodiidae) that together include a dozen species have been described from the Palaeogene so far. Moreover, a number of galliform species comparable in size to a quail have been described from Europe, Africa, and North America, although their systematic affinities are still uncertain. Most of the galliform fossils are known from isolated bones. Sometimes they include many skeletal elements, as is the case in the well known site of Phosphorites du Quercy, France, but other localities often provide less abundant material. Associated skeletons from the Palaeogene, like the one described here, are very rare. We describe a partial articulated specimen representing a new species and genus, Sobniogallus albinojamrozi gen. et sp. nov., of an early Oligocene galliform bird from Poland. In overall osteology, mainly of the sternum (breastbone), furcula (wishbone), and humerus, the specimen resembles extant Galliformes, but differs from that group in several characters, including the "anseriform" carpometacarpus, which is typical for stem group galliform birds. The present study supports the notion that Galliformes and Anseriformes are sister taxa that together form the clade Galloanseres. The specimen described in this paper is the first galliform from the Oligocene of Poland and the easternmost from the Palaeogene of Europe. Although it is incomplete, it provides many new details for the earliest galliform birds and increases the already known high diversity of the Palaeogene avian remains recovered from the Outer Carpathians and Central Paleogene Basin.

Resumen en Español


Traducción: Enrique Peñalver

Résumé en Français


Translator: Kenny J. Travouillon

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

In progress

Translator: Eva Gebauer


in progress

Translator: Ashraf M.T. Elewa