(From Pough, Janis and Heiser’s “Vertebrate Life” illustrator unlisted)
During the Eocene megathermal forests extended all the way to the Arctic!
Mopsitta (“MoClay parrot”)
- Temporal range: Early Eocene
- Fossil location: Fur Formation (Denmark)
- Known species: M. tanta
Mopsitta is an extinct genus of bird from the Early Eocene of Denmark; its remains were recovered from the Fur Formation. Only one species is known, Mopsitta tanta, and all that was found of it to date is a single humerus bone of rather large size. Although the phylogenetic position of genus is unclear, it was initially presumed to be phylogenetically closer to Recent Psittacidae than to other known Palaeogene psittaciforms and may, therefore, represent the oldest known crown-group parrot.
However, it was subsequently pointed out that the fossil lacks clear psittaciform (let alone psittacid) apomorphies. Following the discovery that the fossil ibis genus Rhynchaeites also occurred in the Fur Formation, it was hypothesized that the “M. tanta” humerus actually belongs in that genus, being a better match (except in size) to the known Rhynchaeites remains than to any psittaciform fossil hitherto found.
(Photo source: x) (Credit: Art by David Waterhouse)
Very likely one of the most common Eocene birds, judging by an abundance of footprints and fossils that have been discovered within ancient lake beds. It nested along the waterside in huge colonies, and fed by filtering tiny organisms and plant matter through its broad shallow bill- much like a typical dabbling duck. Because it is anatomically so similar to both the Anseriformes (waterfowl) and Phoenicopteriformes (flamingos) it is thought that they could have shared a common ancestor.
I couldn’t find many restorations online so i drew one, haha. Taeniolabis was the largest mammal discovered to have lived through the Cretaceous extinction event and into the Eocene. It was the size of a beaver.
(If you click through on the blog you can see a better resolution.)
Also, they’re known mostly from their teeth only (as with a lot of early mammals) so all restorations are very speculative.