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Pickford, M. 2014. New Ratite Eggshells from the Miocene of Namibia. Communications of the Geological Survey of Namibia, 15: 70-90


Description:

New Ratite Eggshells from the Miocene of Namibia.

Summary / Notes:

Namibian Neogene deposits have yielded a remarkably comprehensive register of fossil ratite eggshells spanning the entire Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene. Previous studies recognised three genera of struthious egg types, from oldest to youngest named Namornis (1 species) Diamantornis (4 species) and Struthio (3 species) and one of aepyornithoid type, older than the struthious ones, hitherto left undetermined on account of the relatively poor preservation of the available material. A palaeontological and geological survey carried out in November, 2010, in the Tsondab Valley and the Tsondab Flats to the west of the end point of the valley, led to the discovery of good samples of two hitherto unrecognised extinct taxa of eggs, one aepyornithoid, and the other, struthionid, from overlying strata. Neither of the samples fits into the previously established taxonomic schema, indicating that we are in the presence of undescribed taxa. We here analyse the eggshells and discuss their systematic and phylogenetic implications. Arnsmall, primitive pedetid tooth, found with the aepyornithoid shells, indicates an Early Miocene age for the deposits. This estimate is supported by comparing the new eggs with the established eggshell biochronology of Namibia, itself calibrated by mammalian biostratigraphy. Keywords: Early Miocene, Namibia, Aeolianite, Ratite, Eggshell, Biostratigraphy.

Year: 2014

Type: Journal Article

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