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Chendytes lawi, commonly called the Law's diving-goose, was a goose-sized flightless sea duck, once common on the California coast, California Channel Islands, and possibly southern Oregon. It lived in the Pleistocene and survived into the Holocene. It appears to have gone extinct at about 450–250 BCE.[2] The youngest direct radiocarbon date from a Chendytes bone fragment dates to 770–400 BCE and was found in an archeological site in Ventura County. Its remains have been found in fossil deposits and in early coastal archeological sites. Archeological data from coastal California show a record of human exploitation of Chendytes lawi for at least 8,000 years.[2] It was probably driven to extinction by hunting, animal predation, and loss of habitat. There is nothing in the North American archaeological record indicating a span of exploitation for any megafaunal genus remotely as long as that of Chendytes.[2]

Temporal range: Late Pleistocene - Mid Holocene
Chendytes lawi.jpg
Chendytes lawi
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Chendytes
Miller, 1925
C. lawi
Binomial name
Chendytes lawi
Miller, 1925[1]

Although originally thought to be sea-diving duck in the tribe Mergini, analysis of ancient DNA sequences suggests that it is a basal member and a sister to the clade of extant dabbling ducks in the tribe Anatini.[3]


  1. ^ Miller, Loye H. (1925). "Chendytes, a Diving Goose from the California Pleistocene" (PDF). Condor. 27 (4): 145–147. doi:10.2307/1362992. JSTOR 1362992.
  2. ^ a b c Jones, T.L.; et al. (2008). "The protracted Holocene extinction of California's flightless sea duck (Chendytes lawi) and its implications for the Pleistocene overkill hypothesis". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 105 (11): 4105–4108. doi:10.1073/pnas.0711140105. PMC 2393816. PMID 18334640.
  3. ^ Buckner, Janet C.; Ellingson, Ryan; Gold, David A.; Jones, Terry L.; Jacobs, David K. (2018). "Mitogenomics supports an unexpected taxonomic relationship for the extinct diving duck Chendytes lawi and definitively places the extinct Labrador Duck" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 122: 102–109. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2017.12.008. ISSN 1055-7903. PMID 29247849.