A brief review is given of previous morphological studies of Atrichornis and its relationship to other passerine families. Renewed interest in the relationships of Menura and Atrichornis in the last two or three decades led to efforts to obtain suitable specimens of both genera. The efforts to obtain the specimen of the rare Atrichornis clamosus used in this study are described in detail. This account highlights the long periods necessary to obtain governmental permission to study an endangered species and suggests that bona fide scientific enquiry can be stifled by unyielding governmental regulations designed to regulate commercial trade. The studies in this volume illustrate the wealth of scientific data that can be obtained from a single specimen in a carefully co-ordinated study.