A giant flightless pigeon gen. et sp. nov. and a new species of Ducula (Aves: Columbidae), from Quaternary deposits in Fiji

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Abstract

A new genus and species are erected for a giant flightless pigeon described from post‐cranial fossil bones from four Quaternary sites on Viti Levu, Fiji, in the South Pacific Lack of cranial material and transformations associated with large size and loss of flight obscure its relationships, but some characters of the tarsometatarsus, tibiotarsus, and humerus are closer to Goura than to any other taxon The new taxon approaches the dodo and the solitaire in size, but its wings were not as reduced as in these Mascarene birds A tentatively referred premaxilla suggests that the Fiji bird had an unspecialised bill It coexisted with a similar sized, flightless megapode, a terrestrial crocodilian, and a giant iguana, which were the largest animals in prehuman Fiji A new volant species of Ducula is described from Lakeba Island in the Lau Group, Fiji that was larger than any extant Ducula, and had more elongate tarsometatarsi than Ducula david, the largest described fossil species Bones of a Ducula similar in size to the Lakeba pigeon are reported from Viti Levu.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-794
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Columbidae
  • Ducula
  • Fiji
  • Giant flightless pigeon
  • New genus
  • New species
  • Quaternary fossils

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