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Science. 1981 Dec 11;214(4526):1236-7.

Paleognathous carinate birds from the early tertiary of north america.


Fossils newly discovered in the Paleocene and early Eocene of western North America document some of the oldest birds known from nearly complete skeletons. These were medium-sized carinates with powers of sustained flight but which had a paleognathous palate like that of the flightless ostrich-like birds and the tinamous. The fossils provide additional evidence that the paleognathous palate is probably primitive and therefore should not be cited as a derived character state to define the ostrich-like birds as a monophyletic group.

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