Temporal range:
Late Cretaceous-Holocene, 71–0 Ma
File:Pelagornis mauretanicus skull.png
File:Goosander looking up.png
The skull of Pelagornis mauretanicus (top) and the head of Common Merganser (bottom) showing the serrated edge common in this group
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Superorder: Galloanserae
Clade: Odontoanserae
Bourdon, 2005

The Odontoanserae is a purposed clade that includes the family Pelagornithidae (pseudo-toothed birds) and the clade Anserimorphae (the order Anseriformes and their stem-relatives).[1] The placement of the pseudo-toothed birds in the evolutionary tree of birds has been problematic, with some supporting the placement them near the orders Procellariformes and Pelecaniformes based on features in the sternum.[2]

In 2005 a cladistic analysis had found support in placing pseudo-toothed birds as the sister group to waterfowl.[1] Evidence for this comes from shared characteristics in the skull such as lack a crest on the underside of the palatine bone and two condyles on the mandibular process of the quadrate bone, with the middle condyle beakwards of the side condyle.[1] In addition to that both groups have similar features in their pelvic and pectoral regions. Furthermore a 2013 study on the growth pattern and structure of the pseudoteeth in Pelagornis mauretanicus shows more support of Odontoanserae as both groups have "soft rhamphotheca, or delayed hardening of the rhamphotheca."[3] In addition to Pelagornithidae and Anseriformes paleontologists also have support in placing mihirungs (Dromornithidae) and Gastornithids into this group, as they too also share anatomical features in the skull and pelvic bones with waterfowl.[4][5][6] The mihirungs and the gastornithids are more derived than the pseudo-tooth birds and are closer to Anseriformes. One hypothesis is that diatryams and mihirungs are successive sister groups to anseriforms and another hypothesis places mihirungs as crowned anseriforms closely related to the screamers (Anhimidae).[5]

Below is the general consensus of the phylogeny.[5][1][6][7][8]


Pelagornithidae (pseudo-tooth birds) 70 px


Gastornithidae 70 px

Dromornithidae (mihirungs) 70 px


Anseriformes (screamers and waterfowl) 70 px Magpie Goose.png70 px

However a 2017 paper by Worthy and colleagues have found an alternative phylogeny concerning Anserimorphae.[9] By adding additional new characters, as well as incorporating several new taxa into established matrices, the authors have found gastornithids and mihirungs to be sister taxa and could be placed in the order Gastornithiformes.[9] In addition they have found support that the family Vegaviidae (usually classified as crowned anseriforms or their sister taxon[8]) are more related to gastornithiforms than to anseriforms (which they have created the monotypic order Vegaviiformes).[9] The authors did note the bootstrap support is weakly supported and several alternative phylogenies in their paper found gastornithiforms to be stem galliforms instead.[9] These too were also weakly supported as well.[9] Below is a simplified phylogeny showing their one phylogeny supporting gastornithiforms as anserimorphs.[9]


Anseriformes (screamers and waterfowl) 70 px 70 px70 px



Gastornithidae 70 px

Dromornithidae (mihirungs) 70 px


  1. ^ a b c d Bourdon, E. (2005). "Osteological evidence for sister group relationship between pseudo-toothed birds (Aves: Odontopterygiformes) and waterfowls (Anseriformes)". Naturwissenschaften. 92 (12): 586–91. PMID 16240103. doi:10.1007/s00114-005-0047-0. 
  2. ^ Mayr, G.; Hazevoet, C.J.; Dantas, P.; Cachão, M. (2008). "A Sternum of a Very Large Bony-Toothed Bird (Pelagornithidae) from the Miocene of Portugal". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 28 (3): 762–769. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2008)28[762:asoavl]2.0.co;2. 
  3. ^ Louchart, A.; Sire, J.-Y.; Mourer-Chauviré, C.; Geraads, D.; Viriot, L.; de Buffrénil, V. (2013). "Structure and Growth Pattern of Pseudoteeth in Pelagornis mauretanicus (Aves, Odontopterygiformes, Pelagornithidae)". PLoS ONE. 8 (11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080372. 
  4. ^ Andors, A. (1992). "Reappraisal of the Eocene groundbird Diatryma (Aves: Anserimorphae)". Science Series Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. 36: 109–125. 
  5. ^ a b c Murrary, P.F; Vickers-Rich, P. (2004). Magnificent Mihirungs: The Colossal Flightless Birds of the Australian Dreamtime. Indiana University Press. 
  6. ^ a b Agnolín, F. (2007). "Brontornis burmeisteri Moreno & Mercerat, un Anseriformes (Aves) gigante del Mioceno Medio de Patagonia, Argentina.". Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales. 9: 15–25. doi:10.22179/revmacn.9.361. 
  7. ^ Livezey, B.C.; Zusi, R.L. (2007). "Higher-order phylogeny of modern birds (Theropoda, Aves: Neornithes) based on comparative anatomy. II. Analysis and discussion". The Science of Nature. 149 (1): 1–95. PMC 2517308Freely accessible. PMID 18784798. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2006.00293.x. 
  8. ^ a b Agnolín, F.L.; Egli, F.B.; Chatterjee, S.; Marsà, J.A.G (2017). "Vegaviidae, a new clade of southern diving birds that survived the K/T boundary". The Science of Nature. 104 (87). doi:10.1007/s00114-017-1508-y. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Worthy, T.H.; Degrange, F.J.; Handley, W.D.; Lee, M.S.Y. (2017). "The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres)". Royal Society Open Science. 11. doi:10.1098/rsos.170975. 
Hemipus picatus.svg This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.
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