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Data from: The fossil record and phylogeny of the auklets (Pan-Alcidae, Aethiini)

Cite this dataset

Smith, N. Adam (2013). Data from: The fossil record and phylogeny of the auklets (Pan-Alcidae, Aethiini) [Dataset]. Dryad.


The auklets Aethia and Ptychoramphus comprise the smallest known Alcidae (Aves, Charadriiformes) and have a fossil record that extends into the Miocene. The evolution of auklets is poorly understood because systematic hypotheses of relationships among extant auklets are largely incongruent, the morphology of auklet fossils has not been evaluated in detail, and extinct species of auklets have not been previously included in a phylogenetic analysis. Previously described auklet fossil remains are reviewed and two new species of auklet, Aethia barnesi and Aethia storeri, are described from the Miocene and Pliocene of southern California, USA. Previously described auklet fossil remains, the two newly described extinct species of auklet, and extant species of auklets and other alcids are included in combined phylogenetic analyses of morphological and molecular sequence data. Based on the results of the phylogenetic analyses, the taxonomy of fossils referred to Aethiini is revised and the evolution of the clade is evaluated in a phylogenetic context. The osteological morphology of extinct auklets appears to be little-changed from their extant relatives, suggesting that the ecological attributes of these small wing-propelled divers may also be relatively unchanged since the Miocene.

Usage notes


eastern Pacific Ocean basin