A Catastrophic Death Assemblage and Paleoclimatic Implications of Pliocene Seabirds of Florida

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Science  29 Apr 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5159, pp. 684-685
DOI: 10.1126/science.264.5159.684


A deposit of fossil seabirds from the late Pliocene of Florida includes more than 130 skeletons of an extinct cormorant that is related phylogenetically to Recent species currently restricted to the eastern north Pacific. Evidence suggests the birds died in a single catastrophic event, perhaps a red tide. The fossil cormorant, along with other extinct seabirds and marine mammals, supports molluscan evidence for cold-water upwelling along the Florida Gulf Coast during the Pliocene. A decline in species richness of marine vertebrates throughout the Pliocene of Florida coincides with cessation of upwelling after emergences of the Panamanian Land Bridge.