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Temporal range: Early Miocene
~8.7–7.75 Ma
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Rustaviornis
Burchak-Abramovich & Meladze, 1972
Type species
Rustaviornis georgicus
Burchak-Abramovich & Meladze, 1972

Rustaviornis is an extinct monotypic genus of pheasant-like bird. Its remains were discovered in Miocene-aged sediments near Rustavi, in Eastern Georgia.[1]

History and etymology

The genus Rustaviornis was erected in 1972 by Burchak-Abramovich and Meladze, based on a single distal fragment of a tibiotarsal bone, found in the right bank of the Kura, near the town of Rustavi, in modern Georgia, that was at the time an Union Republic of the USSR.[1]

The genus name, Rustaviornis, is formed by the prefix Rustavi-, referring to the town of Rustavi near which it was found, and the suffix -ornis, meaning "bird".[1]


Rustaviornis is only known after a single and fragmentary holotype tibiotarsus, sharing similarities with those of modern-day pheasants and black grouse, although it was much larger, reaching the size of that of the modern junglefowl.[1]


During the Early Miocene, the Iagluja locality, as well as several other sites in the area, was populated by a typical European Hipparion fauna, such as a Mediterranean tortoise, an undeterminate rodent, a badger, the skunk Promephitis, the hyenas Ictitherium and Adcrocuta, a saber-toothed cat, the early elephant Choerolophodon pentelicus, the namesake horse Hipparion cf. eldaricum, a chalicothere, the rhinoceros Dicerorhinus and Aceratherium, the hog Microstonyx, the deer Procapreolus, the giraffid Palaeotragus, and the bovids Oioceros, Paraoioceros and Tragocerus.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Burchak-Abramovich, N. I.; Meladze, G. K. (1972). "Rustaviornis georgicus gen. et sp. n., a new fossil bird from the Hipparion fauna of Georgia". Acta Zoologica Cracoviensia. 17 (16): 373–384.
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