Fossil Species of Florida

Digging for fossilsOver 1,000 different species of vertebrate animals are known to have lived in Florida over the past 35 million years. Florida has the richest fossil record of vertebrate animals of the eastern United States. The Fossil Species of Florida is a set of web pages designed to provide basic information about each of these species, images of fossils in the Florida Museum of Natural History collection, and citations to the primary scientific literature to provide a guide to those seeking further information. The species accounts are linked with the Vertebrate Fossil Sites of Florida, which provide information on the localities which have produced these fossils. The intended audience for this web site are students and educators, amateur and professional paleontologists, and any others interested in paleontology.

When possible, the references will include links to on-line versions of the papers, although not all of them will have free open-access. An on-line glossary will provide definitions for technical terms. The book, the Fossil Vertebrates of Florida, will also be a good reference to those with little or no training in paleontology.

These web pages will frequently use names of land mammal ages to describe the relative age of a fossil site or a species. A complete description of land mammal ages, how they are used, and which ones are found in Florida can be found here.

As of March 2013, we are just beginning to post species accounts. Many more will be added over the next four years.

SpeciesTaxonomyCommon Name
Eremotherium eomigrans Mammalia Wandering giant ground sloth
Panthera onca Mammalia jaguar
Teleoceras proterum Mammalia Archer short-legged rhino
Hemiauchenia macrocephala Mammalia large-headed llama
Sylvilagus webbi Mammalia Webb's marsh rabbit
Neofiber alleni Mammalia round-tailed muskrat
Desmodus stocki Mammalia Stock's vampire bat
Didelphis virginiana Mammalia Virginia opossum
Arctodus pristinus Mammalia lesser short-faced bear
Osbornodon iamonensis Mammalia Iamonia dog
Enhydritherium terranovae Mammalia extinct giant otter
Aepycamelus major Mammalia Leidy’s giraffe camel
Floridatragulus dolicanthereus Mammalia extinct long-jawed camel
Alligator mississippiensis Reptilia American alligator
Alligator olseni Reptilia Olsen’s alligator
Amebelodon britti Mammalia Britt’s shovel-tusker; gomphothere
Amphicyon longiramus Mammalia White's bear-dog
Aquila bivia Aves extinct golden eagle
Ciconia maltha Aves asphalt stork
Pandion lovensis Aves Love Site osprey
Archaeohippus blackbergi Mammalia Blackberg’s dwarf horse
Barbourofelis loveorum Mammalia Loves’ false sabercat
Batrachosauroides dissimulans Amphibia gaint salamander
Bufo defensor Amphibia Inglis toad
Canis dirus Mammalia dire wolf
Epicyon haydeni Mammalia giant hyena-dog
Carcharocles megalodon Chondrichthyes megalodon
Carcharodon hastalis (= Isurus hastalis) Chondrichthyes ancestral white shark
Cormohipparion ingenuum Mammalia noble hipparion; 3-toed horse
Dasypus bellus Mammalia beautiful armadillo
Floridaophis auffenbergi Reptilia extinct snake
Haliaeetus leucocephalus Aves sea eagle; bald eagle
Hemipristis serra Chondrichthyes snaggle-tooth shark
Kyptoceras amatorum Mammalia protoceratid; sling-shot horn
Metaxytherium floridanum Mammalia Florida dugong
Neohipparion eurystyle Mammalia hipparion; 3-toed horse
Ontocetus emmonsi Mammalia Emmon’s walrus
Mesoreodon floridensis
Mammalia Florida oreodont
Pomatodelphis inaequalis Mammalia long-snouted dolphin
Pseudemys williamsi Reptilia Williams’ cooter
Rhizosmilodon fiteae Mammalia Fite’s saber-tooth cat
Siren lacertina Amphibia greater siren
Smilodon fatalis Mammalia saber-toothed cat
Tapirus webbi Mammalia Webb's tapir
Tapirus polkensis Mammalia Olsen's dwarf tapir
Tapirus haysii Mammalia Hays' tapir
Tremartos floridanus
Mammalia Florida spectacled bear
Thecachampsa americana (= Gavialosuchus americanus) Reptilia North American false gharial
Titanis walleri Aves Waller’s terror bird
Xenosmilus hodsonae Mammalia Hodson's saber-tooth cat

Sponsorship and Funding Opportunities

Funds are needed to hire advanced UF undergraduate and graduate students to write these accounts, take the images, and put them in proper format to post on-line. Individuals, families, and organizations who want to sponsor one or more species accounts should contact Richard Hulbert. For a donation of $150 or more, you can help sponsor the web page of a particular fossil species, and your support will be acknowledged on that species web page. For a donation of $500 or more, you can be the exclusive sponsor of a species web page. Donations are tax deductible.

National Science Foundation Grant

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 part of an initiative funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (CSBR 1203222).

Text and Images Copyright © Florida Museum of Natural History