Puerto Rican crow
|Puerto Rican crow|
The Puerto Rican crow, also known as Corvus pumilis, is an extinct crow species in the family Corvidae. It lived on Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Little is known about its habitat, but it possibly died out after the colonization of humans on these islands.
The only source of its existence are its subfossil ulna. It was 68 mm (2.7 in) long and lies in size between the former sympatric C. leucognaphalus with 76–78 mm (3.0–3.1 in) and the hispaniolical C. palmarum with 62 mm (2.4 in).
Little is known about its habitat. As it existed together with C. leucognaphalus on Puerto Rico, it possibly occupied a different ecological niche as the latter and was perhaps rather common in the island lowland.
Classification and taxonomy
The earliest residues of the crow were found in 1916 in the karst cave Cueva San Miguel near Morovis, Puerto Rico. It was a right ulna (AMNH 4925), which Alexander Wetmore described in 1920 as a holotype for his first description of the species C. pumilis. Wetmore did not comment on the etymology of the epithet pumilis, which means "dwarfish" in Latin. There are no insights on its relationships with other species of its genus within and beyond the Caribbean.
C. pumilis possibly disappeared very early. In Puerto Rico it is only known from lagerstätten before the colonizations; on St. Croix it was found on a hearth from the Pre-Columbian era. The crow possibly died out before the settlement of Europeans in the Caribbean
- Further reading
- Pierce Brodkorb: Catalogue of Fossil Birds. In: Bulletin of the Florida State Museum. Biological sciences. 23 (3), 1978. pages 139–157. (full text)
- Julian Pender Hume, Michael Walters: Extinct Birds. A & C Black, London 2012. ISBN 140815725X.
- Alexander Wetmore: Five New Species of Birds from Cave Deposits in Porto Rico. In: Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 33, 1920. pages 77–81. (full text)
- Alexander Wetmore: Bird Remains from Cave Deposits on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. In: Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy at Harvard College 80, 1937. pages 427–441.