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Class Aves
Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae


Anabernicula gracilenta—Graceful Pygmy Goose // Anabernicula oregonensis—Oregon Pygmy Goose

Anabernicula sp.—Pygmy GeeseRegional Pleistocene distribution of Anabernicula sp.

This extinct genus appears to be a member of the anseriform tribe Tadornini (Howard 1964b). This tribe consists of the sheldgeese and shelducks, no longer represented on the North American Continent (Howard 1964b). Johnsgard (1965) notes that members of the tribe form a smooth transition between geese and ducks.

The genus was named from material recovered from the McKittrick (California) asphalt deposits (Ross 1935). It later was synonymized with Branta minuscula (Wetmore 1924) as Anabernicula minuscula (Howard 1936). Howard (1964a) later recognized differences between the Arizona Plio-Pleistocene specimens (A. minuscula) and those from the late Pleistocene of California and accordingly restored A. gracilenta as a separate taxon. Howard soon thereafter (1964b) described a third species, A. oregonensis, from Fossil Lake, Oregon.


Mid Wisconsin: U-Bar Cave (Harris 1987: cf.).

Late Wisconsin/Holocene: Pendejo Cave (Harris 2003: ?).

Literature. Harris 1987, 2003; Howard 1936, 1964a, 1964b; Johnsgard 1965; Ross 1935; Wetmore 1924.


Anabernicula gracilenta Ross 1935—Graceful Pygmy GooseRegional Pleistocene distribution of Anabernicula gracilenta

Both sites from which this extinct anatid are known are close to presumed suitable Pleistocene habitat: the Rio Grande Valley and Playas Lake. Howard (1964b) has discussed this and the following species in some detail.


Mid Wisconsin: McKittrick (Jefferson 1991a)

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Rancho La Brea (Stock and Harris 1992); Shelter Cave (Howard 1964b).

Late Wisconsin: Howell's Ridge Cave (Howard 1964b).

Literature. Howard 1964b; Jefferson 1991a; Stock and Harris 1992.


Anabernicula oregonensis Howard 1964—Oregon Pygmy GooseRegional Pleistocene distribution of Anabernicula oregonensis

Howard (1971) recognized this species from Dark Canyon Cave on the basis of a coracoid lacking the proximal end. Several types of aquatic habitat should have been present in Wisconsin (and prehistoric Holocene) time in the nearby Pecos Valley. The type locality is Fossil Lake, Oregon.


Mid Wisconsin: Térapa (Steadman and Mead 2010).

Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Howard 1971: cf.).

Literature. Howard 1971; Steadman and Mead 2010.


Last Update: 29 Dec 2013