Temporal range: Oligocene-Holocene, 25–0Ma
|James's flamingos (Phoenicopterus jamesi)|
Flamingos and their relatives are well attested in the fossil record, with the first unequivocal member of the Phoenicopteridae, Elornis known from the late Eocene epoch. A considerable number of little-known birds from the Late Cretaceous onwards are sometimes considered to be flamingo ancestors. These include the genera Torotix, Scaniornis, Gallornis, Agnopterus, Tiliornis, Juncitarsus, and Kashinia; these show a mix of characters and are fairly plesiomorphic in comparison to modern birds. (The supposed "Cretaceous flamingo" Parascaniornis is actually a synonym of Baptornis and not a close relative to any living bird.) An extinct family of peculiar "swimming flamingos", the Palaelodidae, are believed to be related to, or to be the ancestors of, the modern flamingos. This is sometimes rejected, since the fossil Elornis is known to be from some time before any palaelodid flamingos have been recorded.