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Photograph - Original Art By Deborah Benoit
Joel Olives texture was used.
The fossil record shows that the pelican lineage has existed for at least 30 million years; the oldest known pelican fossil was found in Early Oligocene deposits at the Luberon in southeastern France and is remarkably similar to modern forms. Its beak is almost complete and is morphologically identical to that of present day pelicans, showing that this advanced feeding apparatus was already in existence at the time. An Early Miocene fossil has been named Miopelecanus gracilis on the basis of certain features originally considered unique but later thought to lie within the range of inter-specific variation in Pelecanus. The Late Eocene Protopelicanus may be a pelecaniform or suliform � or a similar aquatic bird such as a pseudotooth (Pelagornithidae). The supposed Miocene pelican Liptornis from Patagonia is a nomen dubium (of doubtful validity), being based on fragments providing insufficient evidence to support a valid description.
January 29th, 2013
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