Peer Review #1 of "An avian femur from the Late Cretaceous of Vega Island, Antarctic Peninsula: removing the record of cursorial landbirds from the Mesozoic of Antarctica (v0.1)" [peer_review]

G Mayr
2019 unpublished
In 2006, a partial avian femur (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology [SDSM] 78247) from the Upper Cretaceous (mid-Maastrichtian) Sandwich Bluff Member of the López de Bertodano Formation of Sandwich Bluff on Vega Island of the northern Antarctic Peninsula was briefly reported as that of a cariamiform -a clade that includes extant and volant South American species and many extinct flightless and cursorial species. Although other authors have since rejected this taxonomic assignment, SDSM
more » ... c assignment, SDSM 78247 had never been the subject of a detailed description, hindering a definitive assessment of its affinities. Here we provide the first comprehensive description, illustration, and comparative study of this specimen. Comparison of characters that may be assessed in this femur with those of avian taxa scored in published character matrices refutes the inclusion of SDSM 78247 within Cariamiformes, instead supporting its assignment to a new, as-yet unnamed large-bodied species within the genus Vegavis, and therefore its referral to a clade of semiaquatic anseriforms. Important character states diagnostic of Vegavis + Polarornis include strong craniocaudal bowing of the femoral shaft, the presence of a distinct fossa just proximal to the fibular trochlea, and the broad and flat shape of the patellar sulcus. Referral to Vegavis is based on the presence of a distinctive proximocaudal fossa and distolateral scar. This genus was previously known only from V. iaai, a smaller-bodied taxon from the same locality and stratigraphic unit. Our reassignment of SDSM 78247 to Vegavis sp. removes the record of cariamiform landbirds PeerJ reviewing PDF | (Manuscript to be reviewed 25 Abstract 26 27 In 2006, a partial avian femur (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology [SDSM] 78247) 28 from the Upper Cretaceous (mid-Maastrichtian) Sandwich Bluff Member of the López de 29 Bertodano Formation of Sandwich Bluff on Vega Island of the northern Antarctic Peninsula was 30 briefly reported as that of a cariamiform -a clade that includes extant and volant South 31 American species and many extinct flightless and cursorial species. Although other authors have 32 since rejected this taxonomic assignment, SDSM 78247 had never been the subject of a detailed 33 description, hindering a definitive assessment of its affinities. Here we provide the first 34 comprehensive description, illustration, and comparative study of this specimen. Comparison of 35 characters that may be assessed in this femur with those of avian taxa scored in published 36 character matrices refutes the inclusion of SDSM 78247 within Cariamiformes, instead 37 supporting its assignment to a new, as-yet unnamed large-bodied species within the genus 38 Vegavis, and therefore its referral to a clade of semiaquatic anseriforms. Important character 39 states diagnostic of Vegavis + Polarornis include strong craniocaudal bowing of the femoral 40 shaft, the presence of a distinct fossa just proximal to the fibular trochlea, and the broad and flat 41 shape of the patellar sulcus. Referral to Vegavis is based on the presence of a distinctive 42 proximocaudal fossa and distolateral scar. This genus was previously known only from V. iaai, a 43 smaller-bodied taxon from the same locality and stratigraphic unit. Our reassignment of SDSM 44 78247 to Vegavis sp. removes the record of cariamiform landbirds from the Antarctic 45 Cretaceous.
doi:10.7287/peerj.7231v0.1/reviews/1 fatcat:mndsmilponaehmrc7xpp34gige