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Sant'Ambrogio di Torino, Italy

Mayr G.,Senckenberg Institute | Pavia M.,Museo di geologia e paleontologia
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

We revise two avian fossils from the Miocene of Italy, which were described as anseriform birds by Alessandro Portis in 1884. One of these, the holotype of Chenornis graculoides, from the early Miocene of Ceva (Piemonte, northwestern Italy), is found to be a stem group representative of Diomedeidae (albatrosses), and is here classified as Plotornis graculoides, comb. nov. The fossil allows the recognition of previously unknown osteological details of Plotornis and is the first record of an albatross from the Mediterranean Sea. The second specimen, from the late Miocene of Montebamboli (Toscana, central Italy), was described as Anas lignitifila and is here recognized as a highly unusual anseriform that is transferred to the new taxon Bambolinetta. The species belongs to Anatinae but is outside a clade including Anatini, Mergini, and Aythyini. It is distinguished from all extant Anseriformes by unusually robust wing bones, and the ulna and radius appear to have been very short. The Montebamboli site was part of the Tusco-Sardinian Island in the late Miocene, and we consider it likely that Bambolinetta lignitifila was an insular species with reduced flight capabilities, possibly specialized for wing-propelled diving. © 2014 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Source

Bedetti C.,Museo di geologia e paleontologia | Pavia M.,Museo di geologia e paleontologia
Palaeontographica, Abteilung A: Palaozoologie - Stratigraphie

The bird associations of various fissure fillings of the Pirro Nord karstic complex are examined here. They have been collected during several field campaigns developed starting form 1969 until 2006 and are here examined and described in detail. More than five hundred of bones have been examined and they belong to 43 taxa, three of them extinct (Perdix aff. Perdix palaeoperdix, Palaeocryptonyx donnezani, Corvus pliocaenus). The great diversity of the Pirro Nord fossil assemblages allow us to give indication about the palaeoenvironment of the area during the Early Pleistocene. In fact the Area of Pirro Nord was characterized by a landscape mosaic of open dry areas with low vegetation alternate to aquatic environment and rare rocky areas and woodlands. In addition some indications about the biochronological significance of the Pirro Nord birds are given, as this represents the first occurrence of some species.©2013 E. Schweizerbartsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany. Source

A nearly complete coracoid of Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus (Linnaeus 1758) is described from the Middle Pleistocene of Casal Selce (Rome, Central Italy). The fossil specimen is very well preserved and its morphology and dimensions are perfectly compatible with those of modern Harlequin Duck, and differ from other candidate diving ducks. This record represents the first European fossil of this species, previously recorded as fossil only in North America, and one of the few European documented records of wild-origin bird outside Iceland, where the species is sedentary. © 2013 Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. Source

Andreone F.,Museo Regionale di Science Naturali | Bartolozzi L.,Museo di Storia Naturale | Boano G.,Museo Civico di Storia Naturale | Boero F.,University of Salento | And 26 more authors.

The Italian natural history museums are facing a critical situation, due to the progressive loss of scientific relevance, decreasing economic investments, and scarcity of personnel. This is extremely alarming, especially for ensuring the long-term preservation of the precious collections they host. Moreover, a commitment in fieldwork to increase scientific collections and concurrent taxonomic research are rarely considered priorities, while most of the activities are addressed to public events with political payoffs, such as exhibits, didactic meetings, expositions, and talks. This is possibly due to the absence of a national museum that would have better steered research activities and overall concepts for collection management. We here propose that Italian natural history museums collaborate to instate a “metamuseum”, by establishing a reciprocal interaction network aimed at sharing budgetary and technical resources, which would assure better coordination of common long-term goals and scientific activities. © 2014 Franco Andreone et al.. Source

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