The Sapeomithidae are a unique and poorly understood clade of Early Cretaceous birds from the Jehol Group of Liaoning Province, China. Four species of sapeomithids are known: Sapeornis chaoyangensis, Didactylornis jii, Sapeornis angus tis, and Shenshiornis primita. Omnivoropteryx sinousaorum is allied with sapeomithids, although its nomenclature remains a source of contention. The validity of these taxa is challenged via an in-depth anatomical revision and morphometric analyses involving 18 specimens of sapeomithids, including the aforementioned holotypes. The results reveal that the only anatomical difference separating each species is size, implying a growth series trend among the specimens. This provides clear evidence that these species are junior synonyms of Sapeornis chaoyangensis. In addition, critical anatomical descriptions previously unknown for these specimens expand our knowledge of this clade, paving the way for future anatomical and phylogenetic studies of this enigmatic avian taxon.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 52/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Morphology, Geology, Paleontology|
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