Australian Museum Journal A new flightless gallinule (Aves: Rallidae: Gallinula) from the Oligo-Miocene of Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, Australia

Shortform:
Boles, 2005, Rec. Aust. Mus. 57(2): 179–190
Author(s):
Boles, Walter E.
Year published:
2005
Title:
A new flightless gallinule (Aves: Rallidae: Gallinula) from the Oligo-Miocene of Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, Australia
Serial title:
Records of the Australian Museum
Volume:
57
Issue:
2
Start page:
179
End page:
190
DOI:
10.3853/j.0067-1975.57.2005.1441
Language:
English
Date published:
08 June 2005
Cover date:
08 June 2005
ISSN:
0067-1975
CODEN:
RAUMAJ
Publisher:
The Australian Museum
Place published:
Sydney, Australia
Subjects:
AVES; FOSSIL
Digitized:
08 June 2005
Available online:
08 June 2005
Reference number:
1441
EndNote package:
EndNote file
Title page:
Title page (34kb PDF)
Complete work:
Complete work (620kb PDF)

Abstract

Flightlessness in birds occurs in a taxonomically diverse array of families, but is best exemplified in the rails (Rallidae). Most flightless species of rails live on islands, where the absence of native mammalian predators may make flight superfluous. Fossil rails from Oligo-Miocene sites at Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, Australia, are considered to represent a single species of gallinule Gallinula, described here as new. Compared with four Quaternary species of Gallinula from Australasia (two volant, two non-volant), it shows similarities with the flightless species in the development of the fore- and hindlimb elements and in other characteristics of limb bone morphology associated with flightlessness. These indicate that the Riversleigh species was non-volant. Its relationships with the Quaternary species, including the flightless Gallinula mortierii, now restricted to Tasmania, but known from Plio-Pleistocene deposits in eastern mainland Australia, are considered.

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