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.

 
Download Complete Work

Bibliographic Data

Short Form
Boles, 2005, Rec. Aust. Mus. 57(2): 179–190
Author
Walter E. Boles
Year
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
/Uploads/Journals/18015/1441.enw
Title Page
/Uploads/Journals/18015/1441.pdf
File size: 34kB
Complete Work
/Uploads/Journals/18015/1441_complete.pdf
File size: 620kB