Great Albatross - Systematics and Evolution

Systematics and Evolution

Genus Diomedea - Great albatrosses

  • Diomedea epomophora, Southern Royal Albatross
  • Diomedea sanfordi, Northern Royal Albatross
  • Diomedea exulans, Wandering Albatross
  • Diomedea antipodensis, Antipodean Albatross
    • Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni, Gibson's Albatross
  • Diomedea dabbenena, Tristan Albatross
  • Diomedea amsterdamensis, Amsterdam Albatross

The earliest known fossils of the genus are from the Middle Miocene, about 12-15 mya. By that time, the genera Phoebastria and Diomedea had already diverged.

Fossil species

  • Diomedea milleri (Round Mountain Silt Middle Miocene of Sharktooth Hill and possibly Astoria Middle Miocene of Oregon, USA)
  • Diomedea sp. (Late Miocene of Valdez Peninsula, Antarctica)
  • Diomedea sp. (Early Pliocene of South Africa)
  • Diomedea sp. (Early Pliocene of Bone Valley, Florida)
  • Diomedea thyridata Wilkinson, 1969 (Upper Miocene, Beaumaris Bay Fossil Site, Australia)

At least 4 species were found in the Early Pliocene deposits of Lee Creek Mine, North Carolina. These may in part be identical with the forms mentioned above. Assignment of the undescribed taxa to Diomedea is tentative since most of them were discovered before the splitting of this genus. Especially the Southern Hemisphere species probably belong to other genera.

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