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Temporal range: Ypresian
Harrison & Walker, 1977
but see text
"Precursor" is a controversial prehistoric bird genus from the Early Eocene. It was established based on fossils found in England, including in the famous London Clay deposits. Three species are included in the genus: "P." parvus, the type species; "P." litorhinus, and "P." magnus, all named by Colin Harrison and Cyril Walker in 1977.
These remains were originally considered to be members of the Charadriiformes, more specifically the earliest representatives of the Glareolidae (pratincoles and coursers). However, several authors have since found this interpretation to be dubious, with the lack of measurements and contradictory wording making the original description's conclusions difficult to verify. At least some of the material, namely the paratype humerus of "P." parvus, has been re-interpreted as belonging to the Pseudasturidae (or Halcyornithidae), a group of stem-parrots.
- Harrison, C. J. O.; Walker, C. A. (1977). "Birds of the British Lower Eocene". Tertiary Research, Special Paper. 3: 1–52.
- Mlikovsky, J. (1996). "Tertiary avian faunas of Europe" (PDF). Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geologica. 39: 777–818.
- Mlikovsky, J. (1996). "Tertiary Avian Localities of the United Kingdom" (PDF). Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Geologica. 39: 777–818.
- Mlikovsky, J. (2000). "Early Miocene pratincoles (Aves, Glareolidae) from Dolnice, Czech Republic" (PDF). Acta Societatis Zoologicae Bohemicae. 64: 93–96.
- Steadman, D.W. (1981). "Review: Birds of the British Lower Eocene by C. J. O. Harrison, C. A. Walker". The Auk. 98 (1): 205–207.
- Mayr, G. (2002). "On the osteology and phylogenetic affinities of the Pseudasturidae – Lower Eocene stem-group representatives of parrots (Aves, Psittaciformes)". Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society. 136 (4): 715–729. doi:10.1046/j.1096-3642.2002.00042.x.
- Ksepka, D.T.; Clarke, J.A.; Grande, L. (2011). "Stem Parrots (Aves, Halcyornithidae) from the Green River Formation and a Combined Phylogeny of Pan-Psittaciformes". Journal of Paleontology. 85 (5): 835–852. doi:10.1666/10-108.1.
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