Common Name: Love Site osprey
Although ospreys are commonly seen today around bodies of fresh water, their fossils are very rare. This extinct species is only known from a total of eight specimens.
Its talons and hind limbs are not as well adapted for catching and holding onto fish as those in the living osprey.
Scientific Name and Classification
Pandion lovensis Becker, 1985
Classification: Aves, Neornithes, Neognathae, Neoaves, Accipitriformes, Pandionidae
Alternate Scientific Names: None
Overall Geographic Range
Only known from the type locality, Love Bone Bed (=Love Site) in southwestern Alachua County, Florida.
Florida Fossil Occurrences
Florida fossil sites with Pandion lovensis:
- Alachua County—Love Bone Bed
Extinct ospreys belonging to the genusPandion have been recovered from several places around the world, including the middle Miocene of California (Pandion homalopteron; Warter, 1976), the late Miocene of Florida (Pandion lovensis; Becker, 1985), and the Oligocene of Egypt (Rasmussen et al., 1987). The sole living member of the genus Pandion is the species Pandion haliaetus. Pandion haliaetus has a worldwide distribution across all continents except Antarctica. Extant osprey fossils from Florida are known from the late Pleistocene (Hulbert and Becker, 2001).
Pandion lovensis is the most primitive member of the genus based on the morphology of its hindlimb (Becker, 1985), and it is also the most hawklike of the family Pandionidae. Its hindlimb is considered less adapted for grasping fish when compared to the modern form (Hulbert and Becker, 2001). See Figure 2 for a comparison of the talon morphology of Pandion lovensis and Pandion haliaetus. One of the features that distinguishes Pandion lovensis from the extant species is its longer and more slender tasometatarsus (Figure 3) and a wider and shallower intercondylar sulcus in its tibiotarsus (Figure 4).
- Original Author: Zachary Seth Randall
- Original Completion Date: November 30, 2012
- Editor(s) Name: Natali Valdes
- Last Updated On: May 7, 2015
Becker, J. J. 1985. Pandion lovensis, a new species of osprey from the late Miocene of Florida. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 98(2):314-320.
Hulbert, R. C., and Becker, J. J. 2001. Reptilia 3: Birds. Pp. 152-165 in R.C. Hulbert (ed.), The Fossil Vertebrates of Florida. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Rasmussen, D. T., Olson, S. L. and Simons, E. L.1987. Fossil Birds from the Oligocene Jebel Qatrani Formation, Fayum Province, Egypt. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 62:1-20.
Sibley, C. G., and Monroe, B. L.1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1990.
Warter, S. 1976. A new osprey from the Miocene of California (Falconiformes: Pandionidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 27:133-139. (Download entire volume PDF)
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.