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The First Occurrence in the Fossil Record of an Aquatic Avian Twig-Nest with Phoenicopteriformes Eggs: Evolutionary Implications

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Autor(es):
Grellet-Tinner, Gerald [1, 2, 3] ; Murelaga, Xabier [4] ; Larrasoana, Juan C. [5] ; Silveira, Luis F. [6] ; Olivares, Maitane [4] ; Ortega, Luis A. [4] ; Trimby, Patrick W. [7] ; Pascual, Ana [4]
Número total de Autores: 8
Afiliação do(s) autor(es):
[1] CRILAR, CONICET, Anillaco - Argentina
[2] Field Museum, Chicago, IL - USA
[3] Journey Museum, Rapid City, SD - USA
[4] Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Fac Ciencia & Tecnol, Dept Estratig & Paleontol, Bilbao - Spain
[5] Inst Geol & Minero Espana, Zaragoza - Spain
[6] Univ Sao Paulo, Secao Aves, Museu Zool, Sao Paulo - Brazil
[7] Univ Sydney, Australian Ctr Microscopy & Microanal, Sydney, NSW 2006 - Australia
Número total de Afiliações: 7
Tipo de documento: Artigo Científico
Fonte: PLoS One; v. 7, n. 10 OCT 17 2012.
Citações Web of Science: 11
Resumo

Background: We describe the first occurrence in the fossil record of an aquatic avian twig-nest with five eggs in situ (Early Miocene Tudela Formation, Ebro Basin, Spain). Extensive outcrops of this formation reveal autochthonous avian osteological and oological fossils that represent a single taxon identified as a basal phoenicopterid. Although the eggshell structure is definitively phoenicopterid, the characteristics of both the nest and the eggs are similar to those of modern grebes. These observations allow us to address the origin of the disparities between the sister taxa Podicipedidae and Phoenicopteridae crown clades, and traces the evolution of the nesting and reproductive environments for phoenicopteriforms. Methodology/Principal Findings: Multi-disciplinary analyses performed on fossilized vegetation and eggshells from the eggs in the nest and its embedding sediments indicate that this new phoenicopterid thrived under a semi-arid climate in an oligohaline (seasonally mesohaline) shallow endorheic lacustine environment. High-end microcharacterizations including SEM, TEM, and EBSD techniques were pivotal to identifying these phoenicopterid eggshells. Anatomical comparisons of the fossil bones with those of Phoenicopteriformes and Podicipediformes crown clades and extinct palaelodids confirm that this avian fossil assemblage belongs to a new and basal phoenicopterid. Conclusions/Significance: Although the Podicipediformes-Phoenicopteriformes sister group relationship is now well supported, flamingos and grebes exhibit feeding, reproductive, and nesting strategies that diverge significantly. Our multi-disciplinary study is the first to reveal that the phoenicopteriform reproductive behaviour, nesting ecology and nest characteristics derived from grebe-like type strategies to reach the extremely specialized conditions observed in modern flamingo crown groups. Furthermore, our study enables us to map ecological and reproductive characters on the Phoenicopteriformes evolutionary lineage. Our results demonstrate that the nesting paleoenvironments of flamingos were closely linked to the unique ecology of this locality, which is a direct result of special climatic (high evaporitic regime) and geological (fault system) conditions. (AU)

Processo FAPESP: 07/56378-0 - Sistemática, taxonomia e biogeografia de aves neotropicais: os Cracidae como modelo
Beneficiário:Luís Fábio Silveira
Linha de fomento: Auxílio à Pesquisa - Regular