Date:October 20, 2015
Source:Taylor & Francis
It is commonly known that birds evolved from dinosaurs. But what happened next? Today, shorebirds (otherwise known as waders) live in a wide variety of environments worldwide, from the Himalayas to Antarctica. With their long legs, shorebirds have long been a subject of evolutionary discussion, but where did they originate and how did they diverge into so many habitats across the globe? Due to a poor fossil record, these questions remain largely unanswered. However, a new article published in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology sheds new light on this mystery.
A new piece in this evolutionary puzzle has been presented by an international team of New Zealand and Australian-based scientists, including researchers at Canterbury Museum, who have confirmed that a 19-16 million-year-old shorebird fossil, discovered in Central Otago, New Zealand, belongs to a group of small birds including the Australian Plains-wanderer and the South American Seedsnipes.
The new species, Hakawai melvillei, is named after a 'mystery bird' in Māori mythology and in honour of New Zealand-based ornithologist and ecologist David Melville.