Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

Two new late Pleistocene miniature owls from Rancho La Brea, California

Kenneth E. Campbell, Jr. and Zbigniew M. Bocheński

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 58 (4), 2013: 707-721 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4202/app.2011.0125

Two new species of miniature owls are described from the upper Pleistocene asphalt deposits of Rancho La Brea, California. The first is assigned to the extant genus Glaucidium, as Glaucidium kurochkini sp. nov., and the second is placed in a new genus Asphaltoglaux, as Asphaltoglaux cecileae sp. nov. Both new species are based on tarsometatarsi, and each is represented by various elements. These are the second and third extinct owls to be described among the nine strigiform species from Rancho La Brea. The new species of Glaucidium is also recognized from the upper Pleistocene asphalt deposits of Carpinteria, California, which lends support to the hypothesis that southwestern coastal California was comparable to an island in the late Pleistocene. Recognition of these two new strigiform taxa brings to 22 the number of known extinct avian species from Rancho La Brea.

Key words: Aves, Strigiformes, Strigidae, asphalt deposits, Pleistocene, California.

Kenneth E. Campbell, Jr. [kcampbell@nhm.org], Vertebrate Zoology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90007 USA; Zbigniew M. Bocheński [bochenski@isez.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Sławkowska 17, 31-016 Cracow, Poland.