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Open AccessArticle

The First Fossil Owl (Aves, Strigiformes) From the Paleogene of Africa

Campbell Geology Museum, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
CAS—Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
West Virginia University Institute of Technology, Beckley, WV 25801, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 163;
Received: 10 April 2020 / Accepted: 21 April 2020 / Published: 23 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Origins of Modern Avian Biodiversity)
The relatively extensive fossil record of owls (Aves, Strigiformes) in North America and Europe stands in stark contrast to the paucity of fossil strigiformes from Africa. The first occurrence of a fossil owl from the Paleogene of Africa extends the fossil record of this clade on that continent by as much as 25 million years, and confirms the presence of large-sized owls in Oligocene continental faunas. The new fossil is tentatively referred to the Selenornithinae, a clade of large owls previously restricted to Europe. This new fossil owl was likely similar in size to the extant Eagle Owls of the genus Bubo, and suggests that the niche of large, volant, terrestrial avian predator, although relatively rare throughout avian evolutionary history, may be an ecological role that was more common among extinct owls than previously recognized. View Full-Text
Keywords: Egypt; Fayum Depression; Jebel Qatrani Formation; Oligocene; Selenornithinae Egypt; Fayum Depression; Jebel Qatrani Formation; Oligocene; Selenornithinae
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Smith, N.A.; Stidham, T.A.; Mitchell, J.S. The First Fossil Owl (Aves, Strigiformes) From the Paleogene of Africa. Diversity 2020, 12, 163.

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