The fossiliferous Upper Varswater Formation at Langebaanweg (South Africa) produced remains of at least five species of owls (Strigiformes). Tyto richae sp. nov. is the first palaeospecies of Tytonidae described from an African fossil site, though indeterminate remains referable to the genus Tyto are known from the Middle Miocene of Morocco, the early Pliocene of Ethiopia, and the Pliocene of Tanzania. Athene inexpectata sp. nov. is not only the earliest documented fossil evidence for the genus worldwide, but also the first record of a species of Athene in Africa south of the Sahara. Proportions of its hind limb indicate that At. inexpectata sp. nov. probably has been as terrestrial as its modern relative At. cunicularia. A few additional remains represent the earliest fossil evidence for the genera Asio and Bubo on the African continent, though the poor preservation of these bones prevents more detailed identifications. A distal tibiotarsus of a small owl about the size of At. inexpectata sp. nov. indicates the presence of a fifth, as yet indeterminate, species of owl at Langebaanweg. Biogeographical and palaeoecological implications of this assemblage of owls are discussed.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.