A fossil from the Middle Miocene Rosarito Beach Formation of Baja California represents a previously undescribed, auklet-sized species of wing-propelled diving Pan-Alcidae (Aves, Charadriiformes). This new taxon, Divisulcus demerei, is recognized from the presence of a bifurcated scapulotricipital sulcus of the distal end of the humerus, a potentially neomorphic character within Aves. Additionally, the degree of compression of the humeral shaft of this new species is less than that of other pan-alcids. These characters may represent retention of ancestral character states that are associated with the transition to wing-propelled diving from nondiving Charadriiformes. This discovery provides further information regarding paleodiversity in this clade, extends the geographic range of Miocene pan-alcids, and may represent the oldest record of the clade from the Pacific Ocean basin, as previously reported unambiguous records are from Late Miocene or younger deposits (∼10–1.6 Ma). Moreover, the age of this new pan-alcid (14–16 Ma) corresponds with the timing of the Middle Miocene climatic optimum, a time for which previous records of Pacific Ocean basin pan-alcids were lacking. Because of the relative incompleteness of the specimen, the systematic position of this new taxon within the Pan-Alcidae from a phylogenetic analysis is not strongly supported. Until additional remains of D. demerei are recovered that can provide additional character data, the affinities of this new taxon within the Pan-Alcidae are uncertain.
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Vol. 115 • No. 1