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A night heron (Ciconiiformes, Ardeidae) and a stork (Ciconiidae) from the Pliocene of Myanmar (Burma)

Thomas A. Stidham, Takehisa Tsubamoto, Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein, Thaung-Htike, Naoko Egi, Yuichiro Nishioka, Maung-Maung, and Masanaru Takai

Plain Language Abstract

New fossils from the Pliocene (about 3.5 million years ago) of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) represent two different species of birds. One fossil is a foot bone from a night heron, and it appears to belong to a group of living night herons still found in Myanmar and Southeast Asia today. The other fossil is a part of a leg bone from a large stork similar to living species in Asia, but the fossil is from a species that is smaller than the giant extinct storks known from Asia and Africa. The fauna from the fossil locality near the village of Sulegon includes relatives of the Sumatran rhino, pigs, and other extinct mammals, and the birds and mammals lived on a tidal delta in central Myanmar.

Resumen en Español

Un martinete común (Ciconiiformes, Ardeidae) y una cigüeña (Ciconiidae) del Plioceno de Myanmar (antigua Birmania)

Dos nuevos especímenes de aves de la parte pliocena de los sedimentos de Irrawady de Myanmar central representan los registros fósiles menos antiguos de aves de Myanmar (antigua Birmania), un registro que anteriormente se limitaba a un espécimen de ibis del Eoceno medio. La edad de la localidad fósil de Sulegon-1 es más bien de la parte tardía del Plioceno de acuerdo con la presencia del Suidae Sivachoerus prior, del Anthracotheriidae Merycopotamus dissimilis, y del rinoceronte de Sumatra Dicerorhinus sp. cf. D. sumatrensis. El tarsometatarso distal es de un martinete común (Ardeidae: Nycticoracini) y exhibe caracteres derivados (y primitivos) consistentes con martinetes comunes, pero no consistentes con otros grupos de la familia, incluyendo la ausencia de una deflexión lateral de la tróclea III y un surco troclear que se extiende hasta la terminación plantar proximal de la tróclea III. El fósil de martinete común no es distinguible de algunas especies de Gorsachius y Nycticorax y puede derivar de una de las especies existentes en Asia Suroriental. El otro espécimen (un tibiotarso distal) representa un taxón de cigüeña (Ciconiidae: cf. Leptoptilini) y muestra muchos caracteres asociados con ese grupo (incluyendo un gran tubérculo intercondilar posicionado centralmente, una fosa intercondilar redondeada y bordes trocleares distalmente dentados). Esta cigüeña es más pequeña que las cigüeñas "gigantes" conocidas del Plio-Pleistoceno de Asia y África, y puede representar un pariente de las grandes cigüeñas actuales de Asia. El paleohábitat inferido de la localidad de Sulegon como un hábitat deltaico de marea es consistente con el estilo de vida tanto de los martinetes comunes como de las grandes cigüeñas que viven actualmente en Asia sudoriental.

Palabras clave: Aves; Plioceno; Myanmar; Ardeidae; Ciconiidae; paleoambiente

Traducción: Enrique Peñalver (Sociedad Española de Paleontología)

Résumé en Français

Un héron bihoreau (Ciconiiformes, Ardeidae) et une cigogne (Ciconiidae) du Pliocène de Myanmar (Birmanie)

Deux nouveaux spécimens d'oiseaux provenant de la partie pliocène des sédiments de l'Irrawady, partie centrale de Myanmar, représentent les occurrences les plus récentes d'oiseaux fossiles de Myanmar (Birmanie), jusqu'à présent limités à un seul spécimen d'ibis du Miocène moyen. La localité fossilifère de Sulegon-1 est probablement datée de la partie la plus récente du Pliocène d'après la présence du suidé Sivachoerus prior, de l'anthracothériidé Merycopotamus dissimilis, et du rhinocéros de Sumatra Dicerorhinus cf. sumatrensis. La partie distale de tarsométatarse est celle d'un héron bihoreau (Ardeidae : Nycticoracini) et présente des caractères dérivés (et primitifs) cohérents avec ceux des hérons bihoreaux, mais pas avec ceux des autres groupes d'ardéidés, notamment l'absence de déviation latérale de la trochlée III et un sillon trochléaire s'étendant jusqu'à l'extrémité plantaire proximale de la trochlée III. Il n'est pas possible de distinguer ce fossile de héron bihoreau de certaines espèces de Gorsachius et Nycticorax et il pourrait dériver d'une des espèces actuelles présentes dans le sud-est de l''Asie. L'autre spécimen (une partie distale de tibiotarse) représente un taxon de cigogne (Ciconiidae ; cf. Leptoptilini) et présente de nombreux caractères associés avec ce groupe (notamment un gros tubercule intercondylaire positionné centralement, une fosse intercondylaire arrondie, et des lèvres trochléaires encochées distalement). Cette cigogne est plus petite que les cigognes « géantes » connues dans le Plio-Pléistocène d'Asie et d'Afrique, et elle pourrait représenter une espèce proche d'une des grandes cigognes asiatiques actuelles. Le paléohabitat reconstitué pour la localité de Sulegon, une zone de marnage deltaïque, est cohérent avec le mode de vie des hérons bihoreaux et des grandes cigognes présents dans le sud-est de l'Asie de nos jours.

Mots-clés : Aves, Pliocène ; Myanmar ; Ardeidae ; Ciconiidae ; paléoenvironnement

Translator: Antoine Souron

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Ein Nachtreiher (Ciconiiformes, Ardeidae) und ein Storch (Ciconiidae) aus dem Pliozän von Myanmar (Burma)

Zwei neue Vogelfossilien aus dem pliozänen Teil des Irrawady Sedimente von Zentralmyanmar repäsaentieren den jüngsten bekannten Fossilnachweis an Vögeln aus Myanmar (Burma) der sich bisher auf einen Ibis aus dem mitleren Eozän beschränkte. Die Sulegon-1 Fossilfundstelle hat wahrscheinlich ein spätpliozänes Alter, basierend auf dem Vorkommen des Suiden Sivachoerus prior, des anthracotheriiden Merycopotamus dissimilis and des Sumatranashorns Dicerorhinus sp. cf. D. sumatrensis. Der distale Tarsometatarsus stammt von einem Nachtreiher (Ardeidae: Nycticoracini) und zeigt abgeleitete (und primitive) Merkmale, die mit denen der Nachtreiher übereinstimmen aber nicht mit anderen Adeiden-Gruppen, wie dem Fehlen einer lateralen Deflexion der Trochlea III und einer Trochlearfurche, die bis zum proximalen plantaren Ende der Trochlea III reicht. Das Nachtreiher-Fossil ist von einigen Arten von Gorsachius and Nycticorax nicht unterscheidbar und stammt möglicherweise von einer der heutigen südostasiatischen Arten ab. Das andere Stück (ein distaler Tibiotarsus) repräsentiert ein Storchentaxon (Ciconiidae: cf. Leptoptilini) und zeigt viele Merkmale die mit dieser Gruppe assoziiert sind (inklusive eines großen zentralen Zentraltuberkels, eine abgerundete Intercondylarfossa und distal gekerbte Trochlearränder). Dieser Storch ist kleiner als die „Riesenstörche" aus dem Plio-Pleistozän von Asien und Afrika und repräsentiert möglicherweise einen Verwandten der großen heutigen asiatischen Störche. Als Paläohabitat der Sulegon-Fundstelle wird ein tidal-deltaischer Lebensraum angenommen, was mit der Lebensweise sowohl der heute lebenden Nachtreiher als auch der großen Störche übereinstimmt, die im heutigen Südostasien vorkommen.

Schlüsselwörter: Vögel; Pliozän; Myanmar; Ardeidae; Ciconiidae; Paläoumwelt

Translator: Eva Gebauer

Arabic

Translator: Ashraf M.T. Elewa

 

 

stidhamThomas A. Stidham. Key Laboratory for Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In 2012, Tom moved to Beijing to join the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, and is now a professor there, and an adjunct professor of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is an avian paleontologist and integrative biologist focused mostly on understanding Cenozoic bird evolution, and he also is interested in the role of past climate change and related biogeographic dispersal in the formation of current global avian diversity. In addition to working on bird-based (and other non-mammalian) projects across China (and Asia), he also travels around China hiking, birding, and experiencing the cultural and culinary diversity of Asia. 

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tsubamotoTakehisa Tsubamoto. Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ehime University, 2-5 Bunkyo-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture 790-8577, Japan. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Takehisa Tsubamoto is an associate professor at Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ehime University at Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. He obtained Ph.D. from Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan in 2001. His research field is in vertebrate paleontology, particularly on Cenozoic mammalian fossils from Myanmar and Mongolia, mammalian evolution in the Paleogene of Asia, Mesozoic mammalian fossils from Japan, vertebrate fossils from Mesozoic and Cenozoic of Mongolia, and Miocene mammalian fossils from Kenya. 

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zin maung maunZin-Maung-Maung-Thein. Department of Geology, Magway University, Magway, Magway Region, Myanmar. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein is a lecturer in the Department of Geology, Magway University, Magway Region, Myanmar. His research field is mammalian paleontology. He obtained his Ph.D. (Science) from Kyoto University, Kyoto City, Japan, in 2010. He has carried out research work on the paleontology on the Neogene perissodactyls of Myanmar during this decade. His current research interest is the paleontology of the Rhinocerotidae and Equidae fossils from Neogene of the central Myanmar.

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thaung htikeThaung-Htike. Department of Geology, University of Mandalay, Mandalay, Mandalay Region, Myanmar. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thaung-Htike is an associate professor in the Department of Geology, University of Mandalay, Mandalay Region, Myanmar. His research field is mammalian paleontology. He obtained his Ph.D. (Science) from Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, in 2008. He has carried out research work on the paleontology of Neogene artiodactyls from Myanmar during this decade. His current research interest is paleontology of the Middle Miocene mammalian fauna recovered from Sagaing Region, Myanmar. 

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egiNaoko Egi. Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture 484-8506, Japan. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Naoko Egi is an assistant professor at Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Her research field is mammalian vertebrate paleontology, and her recent work focuses on carnivorous mammals from the Paleogene of Asia and their phylogenetic and biogeographic origins. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, U.S.A. in 1999.

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nishiokaYuichiro Nishioka. Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishi-Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050, Japan. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yuichiro Nishioka is an assistant professor at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. His research field is mammalian vertebrate paleontology, and focuses on Neogene/Quaternary small mammals (e.g., rodents) and artiodactyls from Asia. He obtained his Ph.D. (Science) from Kyoto University, Japan, in 2013. 

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maung maungMaung-Maung. Department of Geology, Loikaw University, Loikaw Township, Kayah State, Myanmar. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Maung-Maung is a professor and current pro-rector (= vice rector) at Loikaw University, Loikaw, Kayah State, Myanmar. His research field is sedimentology. He obtained his Ph.D. from Mandalay University, Mandalay City, Mandalay Region, Myanmar, in 2001. He has carried out research on the stratigraphy and sedimentology of Neogene sediments of Myanmar during this decade. His current research interest is the stratigraphy and sedimentology of the cave deposits around southern Shan State, Myanmar. 

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takaiMasanaru Takai. Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture 484-8506, Japan. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Masanaru Takai is a professor of Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. He mainly works on the evolutionary history of non-human primates in East Asia, such as Myanmar, China, Taiwan and Indonesia. He obtained his Ph.D. from Kyoto University, Kyoto City, Japan in 1992. 

 

 

FIGURE 1. Map of Myanmar showing the SLG1 fossil locality (star) and geological map around the SLG locality (Geological map: after The Geological Map of Burma, 1: 1000,000 map; Earth Sciences Research Division, 1977).

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FIGURE 2. Stereophotograph pairs of the night herson distal tarsometatarsus (NMMP-KU-IR 0343) from the SLG1 locality, Myanmar. 1, distal view; 2, medial view; 3, lateral view; 4, dorsal view; 5, plantar view. Abbreviations: df - distal foramen; r - ridge.

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FIGURE 3. Stereophotograph pairs of the stork distal tibiotatarsus (NMMP-KU-IR 0355) from the SLG1 locality, Myanmar. 1, caudal view; 2, cranial view; 3, distal view; 4, medial view; 5, lateral view. Abbreviations: it - intercondylar tubercle; le - lateral epicondyle; n - notch; r - ridge; sb - supratendinal bridge.

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