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Gerald Mayr, Sophie Hervet and Eric Buffetaut (2019) On the diverse and widely ignored Paleocene avifauna of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France): new taxonomic records and unusual soft tissue preservation Geological Magazine, 156(3):572–584. Abstract The Paleocene locality of Menat (Puy-de-Dôme, France) has yielded several avian fossils, which remained poorly studied, even though some were found almost a century ago. Here, we review some of the material in public collections and show that those birds from Menat, which are at least tentatively identifiable, resemble taxa from early Eocene fossil localities. A largely complete skeleton of a medium-sized bird with strong feet shows affinities to the early Eocene Halcyornithidae and Messelasturidae, which are considered to be representatives of the clade including Psittaciformes and Passeriformes. Another skeleton of a small species resembles the Songziidae from the lower Eocene of China, which are representatives of Ralloidea, the clade including Rallidae and Heliornithidae. A new and previously unreported specimen exhibits exceptional soft tissue preservation, in that the bones appear to be largely dissolved but the podotheca of the feet and even the soft parts around the shank are visible; the plumage remains of this specimen furthermore show an unusual bluish hue.

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