As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 23 October 2015

New species find in Central Otago confirms link between Australian and South American shorebirds

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.

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