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Fw: [naturalhistorygroup] Palaeornithology of Loons

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  • Pat Neuman
    - Loons have been on Earth for quite a while. These birds are of the order called Gaviiformes. The earliest fossil species that has been positively
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 8, 2005
      - Loons have been on Earth for quite a while. These birds are of
      the order called Gaviiformes. The earliest fossil species that has
      been positively identified as a loon is Colymboides anglicus.
      Fossilized remains of it have been found in Britain. They date to the
      Eocene period (54-38 million years ago).

      Another ancient loon species is Colymboides minutus. It lived
      during the Miocene period (26-7 million years ago). Fossils of it
      dating to the early Miocene have been found in France and the Czech
      Republic.

      Other fossils species of loons include:

      Colymboides milne (officially named by Edwards in 1867). This species
      is dated to these periods:

      Upper Miocene of Western Europe
      Miocene of Europe
      Late Pliocene of North America

      Gavia Forster. It dates to these periods:

      Late Miocene of Europe and North America
      Pliocene of Europe and North America
      Recent of Northern Europe and North America

      It is possible that loons may have existed as far back as the
      Cretaceous period. An Upper Cretaceous avian fossil was found in the
      Lopez de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. It has
      been speculated that the fossil is that of a loon. The paleontologist
      Chatterjee wrote a paper on it in 1997. He did not formally describe
      the fossil or officially designate it as being a loon. The fossilized
      remains are fragmentary and most paleontologists believe that it has
      not been conclusively proven to be a loon fossil.
      Another questionable fossil is that of the species Neogaeornis
      wetzli. It dates to the Upper Cretaceous and was found in Chile.
      Lanbrecht officially named the species in 1929. The fossil consists of
      a scrap of tarsometatarsus. It has been interpreted in several ways.
      These are the interpretations of the fossil:

      (1) Lambert (1929) and Olson (1992) interpreted it as a loon.

      (2) Martin & Tate (1976) and Fedducia (1996, 1999) stated the theory
      that it was a Hesperornithiforme.

      (3) Hope (2002) interpreted it as a neornithidae incertae sedis.

      Neal Robbins

      P.S. The taxonomy of loons is:

      Kingdom: Animalia
      Phylum: Chordata
      Class: Aves
      Order: Gaviiformes
      Family: Gaviidae
      Genus: Gavia
      There are five species. They include:

      Gavia immer (common loon)
      G. pacifica (Pacific loon)
      G. arctica (Arctic loon)
      G. adamsii (yellow-billed loon)
      G. stellata (red-throated loon)

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naturalhistorygroup/
      --- End forwarded message ---
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