Refereed Article Systematics of the fossil Australian giant megapodes Progura (Aves: Megapodiidae)

Citation: Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics of the fossil Australian giant megapodes Progura (Aves: Megapodiidae). Oryctos. 7. 195-215.


Australia’s largest megapode was Progura gallinacea De Vis, 1888, from Plio-Pleistocene deposits in southeastern Queensland. A second species, P. naracoortensis van Tets, 1974, from southeastern South Australia, was initially distinguished by different leg proportions and size; it was later suggested that there might be only a single, sexually dimorphic species. An examination of extensive collections of unstudied material from the Naracoorte Caves indicates that there is only a single species, with size differences related to both moderate sexual dimorphism and individual variation. Comparisons of these specimens with the three living Australian megapode taxa show that the Progura is not separable from the modern genus Leipoa. The possibility that Progura gallinacea is the megafaunal representative of the living Leipoa ocellata Gould, 1838 (Malleefowl) is discussed.

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