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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 124.5–120 Ma
Fossil specimen of a juvenile J. prima (IVPP V13550), Paleozoological Museum of China
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Clade: Avialae
Order: Jeholornithiformes
Zhou & Zhang, 2006
Family: Jeholornithidae
Zhou & Zhang, 2006
Type species
Jeholornis prima
Zhou & Zhang, 2002

Jeholornithidae is a family of avialan theropods whose taxonomy is controversial, whose remains are found in fossil deposits of what is now China. The controversy stems from whether most of the taxa in the group are just specimens of Jeholornis, as well as if the group is monophyletic at all. In the description of Kompsornis the authors Wang et al. (2020) found moderate support in the monophyly of the group, placing them as basal avialans sister to Pygostylia.[1] No phylogenetic definitions for these groups were provided by Zhou and Zhang, but a topological definition was provided in 2020 by Wang and colleagues where Jeholornithiformes was defined as "the most inclusive clade containing Je. prima but excluding the extant birds".[1]

The results of a phylogenetic analysis of all valid jeholornithiform species considered by Wang and colleagues is shown below:[1]


Archaeopteryx lithographica

Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi




Jeholornis palmapenis

Shenzhouraptor sinensis


Jeholornis prima

Jeholornis curvipes



  1. ^ a b c Xuri Wang; Jiandong Huang; Martin Kundrát; Andrea Cau; Xiaoyu Liu; Yang Wang; Shubin Ju (2020). "A new jeholornithiform exhibits the earliest appearance of the fused sternum and pelvis in the evolution of avialan dinosaurs". Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. 199: Article 104401. Bibcode:2020JAESc.19904401W. doi:10.1016/j.jseaes.2020.104401. S2CID 219511931.