Bones of extinct heron found at NCFL fossil site

Published: May. 22, 2019 at 7:17 PM EDT
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The bones of an extinct species of ancient heron found at an archaeological dig in North Central Florida are on display at the Florida Natural History Museum.

Two volunteers at the museum discovered the new species at a fossil site in Williston called Montbrook.

UF researchers and volunteers named the fossil Hodge's Tiger-Heron after the fossil sites' landowner, Eddie Hodge.

Curator of Ornithology, David Steadman, said the fossil is closely related to a tiger-heron that lives in Central and South America.

“One of our goals here that we're making is to come up with what are the basis for the biodiversity we have in Florida now,” Steadman said. “By going back in time seeing how things evolve, figuring out what's going extinct, what survives, what are the processes involved. it helps to round out and helps us understand what we can see around today."

Nearly 700 volunteers have worked at the Montbrook fossil site since 2015.