Temporal range: Lower Eocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Infraclass: Neoaves
Order: Incertae sedis (see text)
Family: Incertae sedis
Genus: Mopsitta
Waterhouse et al. 2008
Species: M. tanta
Binomial name
Mopsitta tanta
Waterhouse et al. 2008

Mopsitta tanta is an extinct bird of uncertain taxonomic position from the Early Eocene of Denmark; its remains were recovered from the Fur Formation. So far, the holotype and only known specimen is a single humerus bone of rather large size. Although the phylogenetic position of genus is unclear, it was initially presumed to be phylogenetically closer to Recent Psittacidae than to other known Palaeogene psittaciforms and may, therefore, represent the oldest known crown-group parrot.[1]

However, further examination subsequently pointed out that the fossil lacks clear psittaciform (let alone psittacid) apomorphies. Following the discovery that the fossil ibis genus Rhynchaeites also occurred in the Fur Formation, it was hypothesized that the "M. tanta" humerus actually belongs in that genus, being a better match (except in size) to the known Rhynchaeites remains than to any psittaciform fossil hitherto found.[2]


  1. Waterhouse, D.M.; Lindow, B.E.K.; Zelenkov, N.V. & Dyke, G.J. (2008). "Two new parrots (Psittaciformes) from the Lower Eocene Fur Formation of Denmark". Palaeontology. 51 (3): 575–582. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2008.00777.x.
  2. Mayr G. & Bertelli S. (2011), "A record of Rhynchaeites (Aves, Threskiornithidae) from the early Eocene Fur Formation of Denmark, and the affinities of the alleged parrot Mopsitta", Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 91(3): p. 229-236.

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