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Ophiolite

The first fossil parrot from Siberia

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As the title suggests, researchers have found a fossil parrot much further north than any previously discovered. Fans of Monty Python may be curious to know if it is a Norwegian Blue. (Lovely plumage.)

 

http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/10/20160717

 

Abstract

Modern parrots (crown Psittaciformes) are a species-rich group of mostly tropical and subtropical birds with a very limited fossil record. A partial tarsometatarsus from the late Early Miocene of Siberia (Baikal Lake) is the first pre-Quaternary find of crown Psittaciformes in Asia (and Siberia in particular) and is also the northern-most find of this bird order worldwide. This find documents a broad geographical distribution of parrots during the warmest phase of the Miocene (the so-called ‘Miocene Climatic Optimum’), which has implications for the historical biogeography of Psittaciformes. The presence of parrots on both sides of the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Early Miocene implies a (most probably eastwards) trans-Beringian dispersal which likely took place about 16–18 Ma. The broad Eurasian distribution of parrots in the past further supports a hypothesis that ancestors of modern genera Coracopsis and Agapornis could reach Africa from Eurasia.

 

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http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37764327

 

"This paper suggests - and it is only a suggestion but it is an interesting one - that we have parrots in Asia and the easiest possible route from Asia to North America is across what's now the Bering Strait, across from Russia into Canada and Alaska," said Dr Waterhouse.

 

If it's true then parrots in America should be more closely related to Siberian's parrots, than the one in Africa.

Comparison of fossils from Africa, Siberia, and America, should prove or disprove it.

Also American's fossils cannot be elder than the one found in Siberia, which also cannot be elder than in Africa.

(also Canadian's parrots fossils must be elder than further on the south)

 

Other migration routes are also possible (like from America -> Asia -> Africa, or Asia->America->Africa, or Africa<-Asia->Africa).

Edited by Sensei

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Maybe it is an anomalous dead parrot. Which, when it was alive, flew off course and had a good time in Siberia when the weather was warmer than nowadays.

Was it nailed to its perch?

 

Edited by jimmydasaint

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It's all a bit far-fetched I think.

 

The deep splits in the true parrots (Psittacoidea) even with the most conservative assumptions seem to be late Eocene latest. And this includes the divergence of most African parrots from the neo-tropicals. Our lovebirds (Agapornis) seem to have closer ties with their Australasian roots, splitting off even earlier.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727385/

 

Any talk of basal Psittaciformes is almost certainly pre-KT. Parsimony strongly suggests that all major splits can be explained by the breakup of Gondwana, with the occasional foray into more northerly latitudes during later warmer periods.

Edited by sethoflagos

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