Reconstruction of Lithornis, copyright Sheatherius.

Belongs within: Ornithurae.
Contains: Struthio, Apteryx, Aepyornithidae, Casuariiformes, Dinornithiformes, Tinamidae.

The Palaeognathae are a clade of birds found primarily on the southern continents, including the ratites and tinamous. Members of this clade are united by the lack of fusion between the maxillar process of the nasal bone and the maxillary bone, as well as the flat dorsal surface and presence of a pair of furrows on the ventral surface of the mandibular symphysis (Mayr 2009).

Palaeognathae (see below for synonymy)
    |--+--+--Struthio WD17
    |  |  `--Palaeotis Lambrecht 1928 H86, M02 [Palaeotididae M05]
    |  |       `--*P. weigelti Lambrecht 1928 (see below for synonymy) M02
    |  `--+--+--+--Apteryx PB15
    |     |  |  `--Aepyornithidae ML14
    |     |  `--+--Casuariiformes WD17
    |     |     `--+--Dinornithiformes WD17
    |     |        `--Tinamidae WD17
    |     `--Rheidae [Opisthodactylidae, Rheiformes] BKB15
    |          |  i. s.: Opisthodactylus patagonicus Ameghino 1891 AH03
    |          |         Heterorhea dabbeni Rovereto 1914 U93
    |          |--Diogenornis fragilis Alvarenga 1983 ML14, M09
    |          `--+--Pterocnemia pennata L81
    |             `--Rhea Brisson 1760 B94
    |                  |--R. americana JT12
    |                  `--R. pennata JT12
    `--Lithornithidae [Eoaves, Lithornithidae, Lithornithiformes] WD17
         |--Pseudocrypturus Houde 1988 M05
         |    `--P. cercanaxius Houde 1988 M09
         |--Pediorallus Harrison & Walker 1977 M05
         |    `--*P. barbarae Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
         |--Promusophaga Harrison & Walker 1977 M05
         |    `--*P. meini Harrison & Walker 1977 M02
         |--Fissuravis Mayr 2007 M07
         |    `--*F. weigelti Mayr 2007 M07
         `--Lithornis Owen 1840 M05
              |  i. s.: *L. vulturinus Owen 1840 [incl. Promusophaga magnifica Harrison & Walker 1977] M02
              |         L. celetius Houde 1988 M09
              |         L. hookeri (Harrison 1984) [=Pediorallus hookeri] M02
              |         L. nasi (Harrison 1984) M09 [=Pediorallus nasi M02]
              |--L. promiscuus Houde 1988 WD17, M09
              `--+--L. plebius Houde 1988 WD17, M07
                 `--Paracathartes Harrison 1979 WD17, M07
                      `--P. howardae (Harrison 1979) M09

Palaeognathae incertae sedis:
  Remiornis Lemoine 1881 M02 [Remiornithidae M05, Remiornithiformes]
    `--*R. heberti Lemoine 1881 M02
  Eleutherornithidae [Eleutherornithini] U93
    |--Eleutherornis Schaub 1940 M02
    |    `--*E. helveticus Schaub 1940 M02
    `--Proceriavis Harrison & Walker 1979 U93, M02
         `--*P. maritini Harrison & Walker 1979 M02
  Eremopezus Andrews 1904 ML14, RS01 [Eremopezidae, Eremopezithes]
    `--*E. eocaenus Andrews 1904 [incl. Stromeria fajumensis Lambrecht 1929, S. fayumensis] RS01
  Stromeria Lambrecht 1929 U93

Inorganic: Rhea americana minilorientalis Okamura 1987 O87

Palaeognathae [Apteryges, Apterygimorphae, Brevipennes, Palaeognathiformes, Panpalaeognathae, Panratitae, Ratitae, Ratiti, Struthiones, Struthioni, Struthioniformes, Struthionimorphae, Struthionoidea, Timamomorphae]

*Palaeotis weigelti Lambrecht 1928 [incl. Paleogrus geiseltalensis Lambrecht 1935, Ornitocnemus geiseltalensis] M02

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AH03] Alvarenga, H. M. F., & E. Höfling. 2003. Systematic revision of the Phorusrhacidae (Aves: Ralliformes). Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 43 (4): 55–91.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1–281.

[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[H86] Houde, P. 1986. Ostrich ancestors found in the Northern Hemisphere suggest new hypothesis of ratite origins. Nature 324: 563–565.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

[L81] Long, J. L. 1981. Introduced Birds of the World: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. Reed: Sydney.

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

[M07] Mayr, G. 2007. The birds from the Paleocene fissure filling of Walbeck (Germany). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27 (2): 394-408.

[M09] Mayr, G. 2009. Paleogene Fossil Birds. Springer.

[ML14] Mitchell, K. J., B. Llamas, J. Soubrier, N. J. Rawlence, T. H. Worthy, J. Wood, M. S. Y. Lee & A. Cooper. 2014. Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution. Science 344 (6186): 898–900.

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

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[PB15] Prum, R. O., J. S. Berv, A. Dornburg, D. J. Field, J. P. Townsend, E. M. Lemmon & A. R. Lemmon. 2015. A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing. Nature 526: 569–573.

[RS01] Rasmussen, D. T., E. L. Simons, F. Hertel & A. Judd. 2001. Hindlimb of a giant terrestrial bird from the Upper Eocene, Fayum, Egypt. Palaeontology 44 (2): 325–337.

[U93] Unwin, D. M. 1993. Aves. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 717–737. Chapman & Hall: London.

[WD17] Worthy, T. H., F. J. Degrange, W. D. Handley & M. S. Y. Lee. 2017. The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres). Royal Society Open Science 4: 170975.

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