Apatornis

Genus of birds (fossil)
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Apatornis
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Apatornis
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10/21/2007
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Apatornis is a genus of prehistoric birds endemic to North America during the late Cretaceous. It currently contains a single species, Apatornis celer, which lived around the Santonian-Campanian boundary, dated to about 83.5 million years ago. The remains of this species were found in the Smoky Hill Chalk of the Niobrara Formation in Kansas, United States. It is known from a single fossil specimen: a synsacrum, the fused series of vertebrae over the hips. While the known fossil remains are very incomplete, enough has been found to reasonably estimate that the body length of this bird was between 7–8 inches (18–20 cm). The type specimen of A. celer, YPM 1451, was reportedly discovered by Othniel Charles Marsh in October 1872 at Butte Creek in Logan County, Kansas. This location is now recognized as falling between Marker Units 15 and 19 of the Smoky Hill Chalk geological formation. An additional, more complete specimen had also been referred to Apatornis celer by Marsh. This more complete specimen had historically been the one used almost exclusively to form the basis of what was known about Apatornis. However, Julia Clarke noted in 2004 that because the second specimen did not preserve any of the same bones as the first, the two could not be scientifically compared. Clarke therefore reclassified the second specimen as its own genus and species, Iaceornis marshi.
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Apatornis celer
Apatornithidae
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