New specimens of the early Oligocene Old World hummingbird Eurotrochilus inexpectatus


New specimens of the early Oligocene (32 million years ago) stem group hummingbird Eurotrochilus inexpectatus Mayr, 2004, are described from the type locality Frauenweiler in Southern Germany. One of these is the second slab of the holotype, whose existence has been hitherto unknown. The new fossils add significantly to our knowledge of the morphology of E. inexpectatus and allow more detailed comparisons with other stem and crown group Trochilidae. A new apomorphy of the clade (Eurotrochilus + crown group Trochilidae) is described. With species successively more closely related to the crown group, the temporal sequence of stem group hummingbirds in Europe indicates an Old World origin of Pan-Trochilidae. E. inexpectatus is the earliest long-beaked stem group hummingbird with hovering capabilities, and absence of modern-type hummingbirds before the early Oligocene may provide a maximum age for the origin of hummingbird-pollinated plants and the colonization of the New World by modern-type stem group hummingbirds.

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I am indebted to A. and H. Oechsler for donating the holotype slab to SMNK. I further thank K. Weiß for preparation of SMNK-PAL.4410, on various stages of which P. Schramm kindly kept me updated. Finally, I thank E. Frey and W. Munk for the loan of the fossil specimens and S. Tränkner for taking the photographs.

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Correspondence to Gerald Mayr.

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Communicated by F. Bairlein.

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Mayr, G. New specimens of the early Oligocene Old World hummingbird Eurotrochilus inexpectatus . J Ornithol 148, 105–111 (2007).

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  • Fossil birds
  • Oligocene
  • Trochilidae
  • Hummingbirds
  • Eurotrochilus inexpectatus