New specimens of Yanornis indicate a Piscivorous diet and modern alimentary canal

Show simple item record Zheng, Xiaoting O’Connor, Jingmai K. Huchzermeyer, Fritz W. Wang, Xiaoli Wang, Yan Zhang, Xiaomei Zhou, Zhonghe 2014-09-02T11:36:37Z 2014-09-02T11:36:37Z 2014-04-14
dc.description.abstract A crop adapted for an herbivorous diet of seeds has previously been documented in the Early Cretaceous birds Sapeornis and Hongshanornis. Here we report on several specimens of Yanornis that preserve a crop containing fish. One specimen preserves two whole fish in the oesophagus, indicating that Early Cretaceous birds shared trophic specializations with Neornithes for the increased energetic demands of flight – namely the storing of food for later consumption when the stomach is full. Whole fish also indicate that despite their presence, teeth were not used to orally process food, suggesting the hypertrophied dentition in this taxon were utilized in prey capture. The presence of macerated fish bones in the crop of other specimens indicates the highly efficient advanced muscular system of peristalsis responsible for moving ingested items between different segments of the alimentary canal was also in place. Despite the fact many features of the modern avian alimentary canal are inferred to compensate for the absence of teeth in birds (expandable oesophagus, grinding gizzard), the derived alimentary canal was apparently present in toothed Cretaceous birds. Although Yanornis was considered to have switched their diet from piscivorous to herbivorous, based on position and morphology we reinterpret the gastroliths reported in one specimen as sand impacted in the intestines, and reconstruct the taxon as primarily piscivorous. This is a novel interpretation for fossilized gastroliths, and the first documentation of this condition in the fossil record. en_US
dc.description.librarian am2014 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship The National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2012CB821906) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41172020 and 41372014). en_US
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.identifier.citation Zheng X, O’Connor JK, Huchzermeyer F, Wang X, Wang Y, et al. (2014) New Specimens of Yanornis Indicate a Piscivorous Diet and Modern Alimentary Canal. PLoS ONE 9(4): e95036. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095036. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0095036
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_US
dc.rights © 2014 Zheng et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. en_US
dc.subject Herbivorous en_US
dc.subject Yanornis en_US
dc.subject Diet en_US
dc.subject Birds en_US
dc.title New specimens of Yanornis indicate a Piscivorous diet and modern alimentary canal en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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