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This is a pretty interesting tooth and I figured I would post it here to get some additional thoughts. This is labeled as an Avisaurus tooth from Garfield County Montana, Hell Creek formation. The first thing that stood out to me was that the shape was a bit different than most teeth labeled Avisaurus that I have seen. Granted I have not seen many but this looked different. It is also close to 1/4" which seems quite large for an Avisaurus. Since there are several Enantionithean birds from Hell Creek, it could be from one for sure but could it be something else? I did some research and found photos on line of a jaw fragments from an Ichthyornis from Kansas that had a similar looking tooth. I am talking general shape really, not saying that is what this is. I also found a comparative study of Hesperornis and Ichthyornis teeth on line and it has a similar shape to one of the Hesperornis teeth in that study. I am very unfamiliar with Avian teeth so I am strictly going by what little research I could find on line. I know there are a couple of Hesperorniformes and an unnamed Ichthyornithean from Hell Creek so it is possible that this tooth belongs to a bird that is not an Enantionithean but I thought this is an ideal tooth to put on the forum and seek some help from those with far more knowledge. Any comments, insights, or thoughts ?
Great article by John Pickrell of National Geographic about a new publication in the journal Nature on a specimen I discovered and donated in 2014: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/fossil-bird-skull-3d-dinosaurs-evolution-paleontology-science/ I was out hunting the chalk with a friend on the Sunday before I would start school at Fort Hays State when I found the specimen in this paper. I didn’t immediately recognize the bones as those from a bird. However, I did see how the bones weathered differently than most fish bones do. I decided to cut out a medium slab of chalk and take it back to my dorm room so I could prepare the bones in a better work place with better tools. At that point I still wasn’t entirely sure what I had, but the more I looked at the few exposed bones, the more excited I got. Back in my dorm room, I used a soft brush and small amounts of water to carefully expose the shape of each bone. I really got excited as the complete sternum, coracoid and jaw elements came into view! The specimen was discovered August 17 2014, which is almost four years ago now! I also met with Dr. Laura Wilson the next day (my first day of college) and I agreed to donate the specimen to the Sternberg Museum in Hays. The specimen was first scanned at the Hays Medical Center and we then began to map the bones to get an idea of how much of the specimen was present. During this same time I had reached out to Dr. Dave Burnham at the University of Kansas. Dave then sent pictures to Daniel Field who, along with others researchers from Yale and elsewhere, would perform additional scanning and create a fantastic 3-D model of the skull. The article does an excellent job covering the history of Ichthyornis discoveries and the importance of this genus. Here is the list of authors: Department of Geology & Geophysics and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA Daniel J. Field, Michael Hanson & Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA David Burnham & Kristopher Super Sternberg Museum of Natural History and Department of Geosciences, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS, USA Laura E. Wilson & Kristopher Super Alabama Museum of Natural History, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA Dana Ehret McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL, USA Jun A. Ebersole Department of Biology & Biochemistry, Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath, Bath, UK Daniel J. Field Link to the paper in Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0053-y
A new paper just published in Nature describes the first complete skull of the Cretaceous bird Ichthyornis, and how it illustrates the evolution of the head of modern birds. News story here. Also NPR story here. Nature article here for those who have access. The fossil is so delicate it remains encased in a block of chalk. The fossil was "prepped" via CT scan which revealed the most minute details. Don
Oxytropidoceras posted a topic in Fossil NewsPaleontologists find remains of toothed bird in Russia for the first time by Paul Rose, Russia Beyond the Headlines https://www.rbth.com/science_and_tech/2017/05/17/paleontologists-find-remains-of-toothed-bird-in-russia-for-the-first-time_764836 Russian Article: https://www.gazeta.ru/science/news/2017/05/16/n_10053761.shtml Interview in Russian: http://paleonews.ru/exclousive/924-ichtyornis Zelenkov, N.V., Averianov, A.O. and Popov, E.V., 2017. An Ichthyornis- like bird from the earliest Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) of European Russia. Cretaceous Research, 75, pp.94-100. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315057640_An_Ichthyornis-like_bird_from_the_earliest_Late_Cretaceous_Cenomanian_of_European_Russia http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667116303731 Yours, Paul H.