Reconstruction of Pseudocrypturus by Martin Chavez.

Belongs within: Aves.

The Lithornithidae are a family of chicken- to turkey-sized birds known from the Palaeocene and Lower and Middle Eocene. They had a palaeognathous palatal structure, but are distinguished from other palaeognaths by the presence of a well-developed hallux, and from other palaeognaths except tinamous in retaining the ability to fly. Being thus defined by plesiomorphic characters, lithornithids may be paraphyletic with respect to other palaeognaths (Mayr 2005).

<==Lithornithidae [Eoaves, Lithornithidae, Lithornithiformes]
    |--Paracathartes C04
    |--Pseudocrypturus Houde 1988 M05
    |--Pediorallus Harrison & Walker 1977 M05
    |    `--*P. barbarae Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
    |--Promusophaga Harrison & Walker 1977 M05
    |    `--*P. meini Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
    `--Lithornis Owen 1840 M05
         |--*L. vulturinus Owen 1840 (see below for synonymy) M02
         |--L. celetius C04
         |--L. hookeri (Harrison 1984) [=Pediorallus hookeri] M02
         |--L. plebius C04
         `--L. promiscuus C04

*Lithornis vulturinus Owen 1840 [incl. Promusophaga magnifica Harrison & Walker 1977, Pediorallus nasi Harrison 1984, Lithornis nasi] M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C04] Clarke, J. A. 2004. Morphology, phylogenetic taxonomy, and systematics of Ichthyornis and Apatornis (Avialae: Ornithurae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 286: 1-179.

[M05] Mayr, G. 2005. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe. Biological Reviews 80: 515-542.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

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