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Gerald Mayr is a paleornithologist at the famed Senckenberg museum in Germany. He is among the most prolific and highly respected authors in the fields of avian systematics and European Paleogene avifaunas. Mayr is the principal authority on the avifauna of the Eocene Messel shales, and has described more taxa recovered from these deposits than any other authority. He has pioneered efforts to provide a paleontological data base for the calibration of divergences based on molecular genetic data.