Skeleton of a New Owl from the Early Eocene of North America (Aves, Strigiformes) with an Accipitrid-Like Foot Morphology

  title={Skeleton of a New Owl from the Early Eocene of North America (Aves, Strigiformes) with an Accipitrid-Like Foot Morphology},
  author={Gerald Mayr and Philip D. Gingerich and Thierry Smith},
  journal={Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology},
ABSTRACT We describe a partial skeleton of a large-sized owl from Wasatchian strata of the Willwood Formation (Wyoming, U.S.A.). The holotype of Primoptynx poliotauros, gen. et sp. nov., includes all major postcranial bones and is one of the most substantial Paleogene records of the Strigiformes. The fossil shows that owls exhibited a considerable morphological diversity in the early Eocene of North America and occupied disparate ecological niches. As in the protostrigid taxon Minerva from the… 

A partial skeleton of a new species of Tynskya Mayr, 2000 (Aves, Messelasturidae) from the London Clay highlights the osteological distinctness of a poorly known early Eocene “owl/parrot mosaic”

Three-dimensionally preserved bones of a new species of Tynskya, T. waltonensis, are reported from the London Clay of Walton-on-the-Naze and provide new insights into the skeletal morphology of messelasturids.

The coracoscapular joint of neornithine birds—extensive homoplasy in a widely neglected articular surface of the avian pectoral girdle and its possible functional correlates

In taxa with a large crop, a flat facies articularis scapularis is likely to be associated with a reorganization of the pectoral musculature, whereas in procellariiform birds, the transition from a cotyla to a faciesArticularis appears to have been correlated with the capacity for sustained soaring without wing flapping.

On the occurrence of lateral openings and fossae (pleurocoels) in the thoracic vertebrae of neornithine birds and their functional significance

  • G. Mayr
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Vertebrate Zoology
  • 2021
It is hypothesized that pleurocoels primarily serve to increase the structural resistance of the vertebral body and were reduced multiple times in neornithine birds.



The first fossil owls (Aves: Strigiformes) from the Paleogene of Asia and a review of the fossil record of Strigiformes

The first taxonomic description of new species of Paleogene owls from Asia, two new taxa from the Eocene and Oligocene of Mongolia and a review of the fossil record of owls, which gives evidence for the Late Cretaceous evolutionary radiation of this lineage are presented.

An assessment of the Cenozoic avifauna of Switzerland, with a description of two fossil owls (Aves, Strigiformes)

The fossil skeletal record of birds from the Cenozoic of Switzerland is rather poor, despite the fact that avian tracks have been described from twenty tracksites. We review the Swiss fossil skeletal

A small Owl from the Lower Eocene of Britaio

A new species of sma1l owl is described from the Lower Eocene London Clay (Ypresian) of south-east England, based on a basal phalanx and the proximal part of a tarsometatarsus, assigned to the extinct family Protostrigidae of the Strigiformes.

The world’s smallest owl, the earliest unambiguous charadriiform bird, and other avian remains from the early Eocene Nanjemoy Formation of Virginia (USA)

All bird fossils from the Nanjemoy Formation are three-dimensionally preserved and, therefore, allow a detailed assessment of osteological features, which complements studies of compression fossils from lagerstätten-type fossil sites.

A new barn owl (Aves: Strigiformes: Tytonidae) from the Middle Miocene of the Nördlinger Ries (Germany) with remarks on the history of the owls

A new taxon of barn owl is described from the Middle Miocene localities at Steinberg and Goldberg in the Nordlinger Ries (Southern Germany) and shows some characters intermediate with Strigidae.


  • G. Mayr
  • Biology, Environmental Science
  • 2007
All of the sufficiently well-preserved avian taxa belong to terrestrial forms, and by its species poorness the Walbeck avifauna sharply contrasts with the very diverse avifaunas known from the earliest Eocene of Europe.

Calcardea junnei Gingerich, 1987 from the late Paleocene of North America is not a heron, but resembles the early Eocene Indian taxon Vastanavis Mayr et al., 2007

It is concluded that an assignment of Calcardea to the landbird clade (Telluraves) is better supported than its classification into the waterbirdClade (Aequornithes), which includes Ardeidae and other ‘ciconiiform’ and ‘pelecaniform” taxa.

New Paleocene bird fossils from the North Sea Basin in Belgium and France

We describe new avian remains from Paleocene localities of Belgium and France. Four bones from the early to middle Selandian of Maret (Belgium) are among the earliest Cenozoic avian remains known

Evolution and skeletal characteristics of European owls

The author wishes to describe the occurrence and evolution of owls in Europe from the Cretaceous to current times, as well as to provide an osteological guide of recent species.

The Ogygoptyngidae, a new family of owls from the Paleocene of North America

Detailed comparisons of this Early Paleocene form from Colorado (USA) have clearly demonstrated that it is distinct from North American protostrigids and all European Palaeogene owls and that It is intermediate between the modern typical owls (Strigidae) and barn owl (Tytonidae).