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Vertebrate Paleontology

Fossil Species of Florida

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Aves, Accipitriformes, Accipitridae


Common Name: none

Alternate Scientific Names: none.

Source of Species Name: from the Latin word bivius meaning two-wayed, which refers to the distribution of the fossil specimens in both Florida and Arizona (Emslie and Czaplewski, 1999).

Age Range: early Pleistocene (late Blancan land mammal age), about 2.5 to 1.7 million years ago.

Florida Fossil Occurrences:

Florida map with occurrences indicated

Figure 1. Map of Florida, with black circles indicating counties where fossils of Aquila bivia have been found (the circles do not indicate a specific location within the county where the fossils were found, and some counties may have two or more different locations producing this species).

Florida Fossil Sites with Aquila bivia:
Citrus County—Inglis 1A

Overall Geographic Range: Fossils of Aquila bivia are currently known only from two widely separated localities, Inglis 1A in Florida and 111 Ranch in Graham County, Arizona. The type locality is Inglis 1A in Citrus County, Florida.

Comments: Today only a single species of eagle lives in Florida, the bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. At least four different genera of eagles, and about 8 different species of eagles lived in the state during the Pleistocene. In addition to the bald eagle, there are two known species of Buteogallus, three species of Amplibuteo, and two species of Aquila, the golden eagle (Carr, 1981; Emslie, 1995; 1998). The extinct Aquila bivia was a large eagle, most similar to the modern golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, but about 10% to 15% larger. However, the leg bones of Aquila bivia are more slender than the more robust limbs of Aquila chrysaetos (Figs. 2-3).

tibiotarsus of Aquila bivia

Figure 2. UF 30012, right tibiotarsus of Aquila bivia from Inglis 1A, in posertior, lateral, and medial views.

femur of Aquila bivia

Figure 3. UF 30019, left femur of Aquila bivia from Inglis 1A, anterior and posterior views.

Overall, there are 38 total specimens of Aquila bivia in the Florida Museum of Natural History collection from Inglis 1A. Oddly, it has not been found at other Florida fossil sites of similar age with abundant birds, such as Haile 7C and Macasphalt Shell Pit (Emslie, 1998). It is possible that its presence at Inglis 1A represents a short-lived range extension from western North America (Morgan and Emslie, 2010). Aquila bivia was first informally recognized by Carr (1981), in her Masterís thesis on the fossil birds from Inglis 1A.

proximal phalanx of Aquila bivia

Figure 4. UF 30016, right pedal digit 1 of phalanx 1 of Aquila bivia in dorsal, ventral, and lateral views.

distal phalanx of Aquila bivia

Figure 5. UF 30017, left distal pedal phalanx of digit 2 of Aquila bivia from Inglis 1A. in lateral and ventral views.

carpometacarpus of Aquila bivia

Figure 6. UF 30015, a right carpometacarpus of Aquila bivia from Inglis 1A, Citrus County, Florida. This is the holotype specimen of the species (Emslie and Czaplewski, 1999).

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Scientific Publications and Other References Cited:

Carr, G. E. S. 1981. An early Pleistocene avifauna from Inglis, Florida. Masterís thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, 162 p. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099233/00001/pdf

Emslie, S. D. 1995. An early Irvingtonian avifauna from Leisey Shell Pit, Florida. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 37:299Ė344.

Emslie, S. D. 1998. Avian community, climate, and sea-level changes in the Plio-Pliestocene of the Florida Peninsula. Ornithological Monographs, No. 50, 113 p. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40166707

Emslie, S. D., and N. J. Czaplewski. 1999. Two new fossil eagles from the late Pliocene (late Blancan) of Florida and Arizona and their biogeographic implications. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 89. http://smithsonianrex.si.edu/sisp/index.php/scp/article/download/502/460

Morgan, G. S., and S. D. Emslie. 2010. Tropical and western influences in vertebrate faunas from the Pliocene and Pleistocene of Florida. Quaternary International 217(1): 143-158. http://people.uncw.edu/emslies/documents/MorganandEmslie2010withcover.pdf

Original Author(s): Rachel E. Narducci

Original Completion Date: December 7, 2012

Editor(s) Name(s): Richard C. Hulbert Jr.

Last Up-dated On: April 5, 2013

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number CSBR 1203222, Jonathan Bloch, Principal Investigator. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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