Accipitridae - Genera - Fossil Record

Fossil Record

As with most other birds of prey, the fossil record of this group is fairly decent from the latter Eocene onwards (c.35 mya), with modern genera being well documented since the Early Oligocene, or around 30 mya.

  • Milvoides (Late Eocene of England)
  • Aquilavus (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene - Early Miocene of France)
  • Palaeocircus (Late Eocene/Early Oligocene of France)
  • Palaeastur (Agate Fossil Beds Early Miocene of Sioux County, USA)
  • Pengana (Early Miocene of Riversleigh, Australia)
  • Promilio (Agate Fossil Beds Early Miocene of Sioux County, USA)
  • Proictinia (Early - Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of C and SE USA)
  • Neophrontops (Early/middle Miocene - Late Pleistocene) - formerly in Neophron
  • Mioaegypius (Xiacaowan middle Miocene of Sihong, China)
  • Apatosagittarius (Late Miocene of Nebraska, USA)
  • Gansugyps (Liushu Late Miocene of China)
  • Palaeoborus (Miocene)
  • Qiluornis (Miocene of Shandong, China)
  • Thegornis (Miocene of Argentina)
  • Garganoaetus (Early Pliocene of Gargano Peninsula, Italy)
  • Amplibuteo (Late Pliocene of Peru - Late Pleistocene of S North America and Cuba) - may belong to extant genus Harpyhaliaetus
  • Neogyps
  • Palaeohierax - includes "Aquila" gervaisii

Accipitrids are known since Early Eocene times, or about from 50 mya onwards, in fact, but these early remains are too fragmentary and/or basal to properly assign a place in the phylogeny. Likewise, as remarked above, molecular methods are of limited value in determining evolutionary relationships of and within the accipitrids. What can be determined is that in all probability, the group originated on either side of the Atlantic, which during that time was only 60-80% its present width. On the other hand, as evidenced by fossils like Pengana, some 25 mya, accipitrids in all likelihood rapidly acquired a global distribution - initially probably even extending to Antarctica.

  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Huerfano Early Eocene of Huerfano County, USA)
  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Borgloon Early Oligocene of Hoogbutsel, Belgium)
  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Bathans Early/Middle Miocene of Otago, New Zealand)
  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. MPEF-PV-2523 (Puerto Madryn Late Miocene of Estancia La Pastosa, Argentina)
  • "Aquila" danana (Snake Creek Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Loup Fork, USA) - formerly also Geranoaetus or Buteo
  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Early/Middle Pliocene of Kern County, USA) - Parabuteo?
  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene of Ibiza, Mediterranean) - Buteo?
  • Accipitridae gen. et sp. indet. (Egypt)

Specimen AMNH FR 2941, a left coracoid from the Late Eocene Irdin Manha Formation of Chimney Butte (Inner Mongolia) was initially assessed as a basal mid-sized "buteonine"; it is today considered to be more likely to belong in the Gruiformes genus Eogrus. The Early Oligocene genus Cruschedula was formerly thought to belong to Spheniscidae, however reexamination of the holotype in 1943 resulted in the genus being placed in Accipitridae. Further examination in 1980 resulted in placement as Aves incertae sedis.

Read more about this topic:  Accipitridae, Genera

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