Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on FlickrFollow us on YouTubeFollow us on PinterestFollow us on Instagram

Avian Evolution and Systematics

Our studies of bird evolution — the late evolution of dinosaurs — include a comprehensive program on the diversity and genealogical relationships of Mesozoic birds and their modern relatives. In the last few decades, the number of species of early birds has more than tripled those known for the previous century. Our work has been at the center of these discoveries. A host of different primitive lineages of birds that lived alongside large dinosaurs have been studied and numerous new species have been named. In collaboration with a number of other researchers, we have also conducted research on the evolutionary relationships, growth, and development, and life histories of early birds. This work has filled a significant gap in our knowledge of the Mesozoic evolution of birds. Our work has also been extended to understand better the early evolutionary divergences of modern birds.


1991. Chiappe, L.M. Cretaceous birds of Latin-America. Cretaceous Research 12: 55-63.

1991. Chiappe, L.M. Cretaceous avian remains from Patagonia shed new light on the early radiation of birds. Alcheringa 15 (3-4): 333-338.

1992. Chiappe, L.M.. Enantiornithine tarsometatarsi & the avian affinity of the Late Cretaceous Avisauridae. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 12 (3): 344-350. 

1993. Chiappe, L.M. Enantiornithine (Aves) tarsometatarsi from the Cretaceous Lecho Formation of northwestern Argentina. American Museum Novitates 3083:1-27. 

1993. Noriega, J.I. & L. M. Chiappe., An Early Miocene passeriform from Argentina. The Auk 110 (4): 936-938.

1994. Chiappe, L.M. & J.O. Calvo. Neuquenornis volans, a new Upper Cretaceous bird (Enantiornithes: Avisauridae) from Patagonia, Argentina. Journal of VertebratePaleontology 14(2): 230-246.

1995. Varricchio, D. J. & L. M. Chiappe. A new bird from the Cretaceous Two medicine Formation of Montana. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 15(1): 201-204.

1995. Sanz, J.L., Chiappe, L.M., & A. Buscalioni. The osteology of Concornis lacustris (Aves: Enantiornithes) from the Lower Cretaceous of Spain & a re-examination of its phylogenetic relationships. American Museum Novitates 3133: 1-23.

1995. Chiappe, L.M. The Phylogenetic Position of the Cretaceous birds of Argentina:Enantiornithes and Patagopteryx deferrariisi. Courier Forschungsinstitut-Senckenberg 181: 55-63. 

1995. Chinsamy, A., Chiappe, L.M. & P. Dodson. Mesozoic avian bone microstructure: physiological implications. Paleobiology 21(4): 561-574.

1995. Chiappe, L.M. The first 85 million years of avian evolution. Nature Communications 378: 349-355.

1996. Sanz, J. L., Chiappe, L.M., Pérez-Moreno, B. P., Buscalioni, A. D., Moratalla, J., Ortega, F., & F. J. Poyato-Ariza. A new Lower Cretaceous bird from Spain: implications for the evolution of flight. Nature Communications 382: 442-445.

1996. Forster, C.A., Chiappe, L.M., Krause, D. W., & S. D. Sampson. The first Cretaceous Bird from Madagascar. Nature 382: 532-534. 

1996. Chiappe, L.M. Late Cretaceous Birds of Southern South America: Anatomy and Systematics of Enantiornithes and Patagopteryx deferrariisi. In Contributions of Southern South America to Vertebrate Paleontology (G. Arratia, ed.). Münchner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen (A), 30: 203-244. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, München.

1996. Chiappe, L.M. Early avian evolution in the southern hemisphere: Fossil record of birds in the Mesozoic of Gondwana. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 39: 533-556.

1997. Sanz, J. L., Chiappe, L.M., Pérez-Moreno, B. P., Moratalla, J., Hernández-Carrasquilla, F., Buscalioni, A. D., Ortega, F., Poyato-Ariza, F. J., RassKin-Gutman, D., & X. Martínez-Delclos. A nestling bird from the Early Cretaceous of Spain: Implications for avian skull and neck evolution. Science 276: 1543-1546. 

1997. Padian, K. & L. M. Chiappe. Bird Origins. In The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs (P. Currie & K. Padian, eds.) 71-79. Academic Press, New York.

1999. Chiappe, L.M., Ji Shu'an, Ji Qiang, & M. A. Norell. Anatomy & systematics of the Confuciusornithidae (Aves) from the late Mesozoic of northeastern China. Bulletin of the American Museum Novitates 242: 1-89. 

2001. Clarke, J. A. & L. M. Chiappe. A new carinate bird from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina). American Museum Novitates 3323: 1-23. 

2001. Chiappe, L.M., Norell, M. A., & J. M. Clark. A New Skull of Gobipteryx minuta (Aves: Enantionithes) from the Cretacious of the Gobi Desert. American Museum Novitates 3346: 1-15.

2001. Chiappe, L.M. Phylogenetic relationships among basal birds. In New Perspectives on the Origin & Early Evolution of Birds: Proceedings of the International Symposium in Honor of John H. Ostrom, pp. 125-139, J. Gauthier & L. F. Gall (eds.), New Haven: Peabody Museum of Natural History. 

2002. Chiappe, L.M., Lamb, J. P., & P. G. P. Ericson. New enantiornithine bird from the marine Upper Cretaceous of Alabama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22(1): 169-173. 

2002. Schweitzer, M. H., Jackson, F., Chiappe, L.M., Schmitt, J. G., Calvo, J. O., & D. E. Rubilar. Late Cretaceous avian eggs with embryos from Argentina. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22(1): 190-194. 

2002. Chiappe, L.M. Early Bird Phylogeny: Problems & Solutions. In L. M. Chiappe & L. Witmer (eds.), Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs, pp.448-472. University of California Press.

2002. Chiappe, L.M. & G. Dyke. The Mesozoic radiation of birds. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33: 91-124. 

2002. Dyke, G. J., Dortangs, R. W., Jagt, J. W., Mulder, E. W., Schulp, A. S., & L. M. Chiappe. Europe's last Mesozoic bird. Naturwissenschaften 89/9: 408-411. 

2002. Dalla Vecchia, F. & L. M. Chiappe. First avian skeleton from the Mesozoic of northern Gondwana. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22(4): 856-860. 

2004. Hou L, Chiappe, L.M., Zhang F., & Chuong C-M. New Early Cretaceous Fossil from China Documents a Novel Trophic Specialization for Mesozoic birds. Naturwissenshaften 91: 22-25. 

2005. Bertelli, S. & L. M. Chiappe. Earliest tinamous (Aves: Palaeognathae) from the Miocene of Argentina & their phylogenetic position. Contributions in Science 502: 1-20. 

2005. Zhou Z., Chiappe, L.M. & Zhang F. Anatomy of the Early Cretaceous bird Eoenantiornis buhleri (Aves: Enantiornithes) from China. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 42: 1331-1338.

2005. You, H., O'Connor, J., Chiappe, L.M., & Ji Q. A new fossil bird from the early Cretaceous of Gansu Province, northeastern China. Historical Biology 17: 7-14. 

2005. Morrison, K., Dyke, G. J., and L. M. Chiappe. Cretaceous fossil birds from Hornby Island (British Columbia). Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 42: 2097-2101.

2006. Chiappe, L. M. and G. Dyke. The early evolutionary history of birds. Journal of the Paleontological Society of Korea 22(1): 133-151.

2006. You H., Lamanna, M., Harris, J., Chiappe, L. M., O'Connor, J., Ji S., Lü, J., Yuan, C., Li, D., Zhang, X., Lacovara, K., Dodson, P., and Ji Q. A Nearly Modern Amphibious bird from the Early Cretaceous of northwestern China. Science 312: 1640-1643.

2006. Lamanna, M., You, H., Harris, J., Chiappe, L. M., Ji, S., Lü, J., and Ji, Q. A partial skeleton of an enantiornithine bird from the Early Cretaceous of northwestern China. Acta Paleontologica Polonica 51(3): 423-434.

2006. Chiappe, L. M., Suzuki, S., Dyke, G., Watabe, M., Tsogtbaatar, K., and R. Barsbold. A new enantiornithine bird from the Late Cretaceous of the Gobi Desert. Journal of Systematic Paleontology 4(4): 1-16.

2006. Chiappe, L. M. Glorified Dinosaurs: The Early Evolution of Birds. John Wiley & Sons.

2006. Zhang, Z., Hou, L., Hasegawa, Y., O'Connor, J., Martin, L. and L.M. Chiappe. The First Mesozoic Heterodactyle Bird from China. Acta Geologica Sinica 80 (5): 631-635. 

2006. Dyke, G., Malakhov., D. and L.M. Chiappe. A re-analysis of the marine bird Asiahesperornis from northern Kazakhstan. Cretaceous Research.  27: 947-953.

2006. Chiappe, L.M., and S. Bertelli. Skull Morphology of Giant Terror Birds. Nature Communications 443:26.

2007. Chiappe, L.M., Shu'an, J. and J. Qiang. Juvenile Birds from the Early Cretaceous of China: Implications of Enantiornithine Ontogeny. American Museum Novitates. 3594: 1-46.

2009. Close, R.A., Vickers-Rich, P., Trusler, P., Chiappe, L.M., O'Connor, J., Rich, T.H., Kool, L. and P. Komarower. Earliest Gondwanan bird from the Cretaceous of southeastern Australia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(2): 616-619.

2009. O'Connor, J.M., Wang, X., Chiappe, L.M., Gao, C., Meng, Q., Cheng, X., and J. Liu. Phylogenetic Support for a Specialized Clade of Cretaceous Enantiornithine Birds with Information from a New Species. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(1): 188-204

2010. Bell, A.K., Chiappe, L.M., Erickson, G.M., Suzuki, S., Watabe, M., Barsbold, R. and K. Tsogtbaatar.  Description and ecologic analysis of Hollanda luceria, a Late Cretaceous bird from the Gobi Desert (Mongolia).  Cretaceous Research 31: 16-26.

2010. Wang, X., O'Connor, J.K., Zhao, B., Chiappe, L.M., Gao, C., and X. Cheng. New Species of Enantiornithes (Aves: Ornithothoraces) from the Qiaotou Formation in Northern Hebei, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition). Vol. 84 no. 2, pp. 247-256.

2010. O'Conner, J.K., Gao, C. and J.K. Chiappe. A New Ornithuromorph (Aves: Ornithothoraces) Bird from the Jehol Group Indicative of Higher-Level Diversity. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(2): 311-321.

2011. O'Connor, J.K., Chiappe, L.M., Gao, C. and B. Zhao. Anatomy of the Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird Rapaxavis pani. ACTA Palaeontologica Polonica 56 (3): 463-475.

2011. O'Connor, J.K., Chiappe, L.M. and A. Bell.  Pre-modern Birds: Avian Diverences in the Mesozoic. In: G.Dyke & G. Kaiser (eds.), Living Dinosaurs, pp. 39-113. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

2011. Marugan-Lobon, J., Chiappe, L.M., Ji, S., Zhou, Z., Gao., C., Hu, D., and Q. Meng. Quantitative Patterns of Morphological Variation in the Appendicular Skeleton of the Early Cretaceous Bird Confuciusornis. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Vol. 9, issue 1, pp 91-101.

2011. O'Connor, J.K., and L.M. Chiappe. A Revision of Enantiornithine (Aves: Ornithothoraces) Skill Morphology. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Vol. 9, issue 1, pp. 135-157.

2011. O'Conner, J.K., Chiappe, L.M., Gao, C., and Zhao, B. Anatomy of the Early Cretaceous nantiornithine bird Rapaxavis pani. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 56 (3): 463-475.

2012. Gao, C., Chiappe, L.M., Zhang, F., Pomeroy, D., Shen, C., Chinsamy, A. and M.O. Walsh. A subadult specimen of the Early Cretaceous bird Sapeornis chaoyangensis and a taxonomic reassessment of sapeornithids. Journal of Vertebrate Paleonotology 32(5): 1103-1112. 

2012. O'Connor, J.K., Chiappe, L.M., Chuong, C., Bottjer. D.J., and H. You. Homology and Potential Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms for the Development of Unique Feather Morphologies in Early Birds. Geosciences 2: 157-177.

2013. O'Connor, J.K., Zhang, Y., Chiappe, L.M., Meng, Q., Quanguo, L. and Liu Di.  A new enantiornithine from the Yixian Formation with the first enamel specialization. Journal of Vertebrate Paleonotology 33(1): 1-12. 

2013. Chinsamy, A., Chiappe, L.M., Marugan-Lobon, J., Gao, C. and Z. Fengjiao. Gender identification of the Mesozoic bird Confuciusornis sanctus. Nature Communications 4:1381.