FParvicuculidae

Parvicuculus minor was described by Harrison and Walker (1977) on the basis of a tarsometatarsus from the London Clay. The bone is short and stout, and exhibits a distinctive morphology in that there is a well-developed medianoplantar crest, a large distal vascular foramen, and a plantarly projecting wing-like flange on the trochlea for the fourth toe (Fig. 11.1). Further specimens of Parvicuculus are known from the early Eocene of France and North America (Mayr and Mourer-Chauvire 2005), but also consist of tarsometatarsi only. Parvicuculus was considered to be a representative of the Cuculiformes by Harrison and Walker (1977) and Harrison (1982a). Clearly, however, there are no morphological features which convincingly support this assumption, and cuculiform affinities of Parvicuculus were disputed by

Fig. 11.2 a Wings and pectoral girdle elements of ?Eocuculus sp. from the early Oligocene of the Luberon in France (Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, SMF Av 424); b skeleton of Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr, 1999 from the middle Eocene of Messel (holotype, SMF-ME 2092A); c legs and pelvic girdle of Eocuculus cf. cherpinae Chandler, 1999 from the early Oligocene of the Luberon in France (SMF Av 425). The specimen in b was coated with ammonium chloride. (Photos by Sven Tränkner)

Fig. 11.2 a Wings and pectoral girdle elements of ?Eocuculus sp. from the early Oligocene of the Luberon in France (Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, SMF Av 424); b skeleton of Pumiliornis tessellatus Mayr, 1999 from the middle Eocene of Messel (holotype, SMF-ME 2092A); c legs and pelvic girdle of Eocuculus cf. cherpinae Chandler, 1999 from the early Oligocene of the Luberon in France (SMF Av 425). The specimen in b was coated with ammonium chloride. (Photos by Sven Tränkner)

subsequent authors (Olson and Feduccia 1979; Martin and Mengel 1984; Baird and Vickers-Rich 1997; Mlikovsky 2002; Mayr and Mourer-Chauvire 2005). Assessment of the true affinities of this taxon thus requires the discovery of additional material.

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