Modern parrots (crown Psittaciformes) are a species-rich group of mostly tropical and subtropical birds with a very limited fossil record. A partial tarsometatarsus from the late Early Miocene of Siberia (Baikal Lake) is the first pre-Quaternary find of crown Psittaciformes in Asia (and Siberia in particular) and is also the northern-most find of this bird order worldwide. This find documents a broad geographical distribution of parrots during the warmest phase of the Miocene (the so-called ‘Miocene Climatic Optimum’), which has implications for the historical biogeography of Psittaciformes. The presence of parrots on both sides of the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Early Miocene implies a (most probably eastwards) trans-Beringian dispersal which likely took place about 16–18 Ma. The broad Eurasian distribution of parrots in the past further supports a hypothesis that ancestors of modern genera Coracopsis and Agapornis could reach Africa from Eurasia.
- Received September 2, 2016.
- Accepted September 30, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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