Biogeographical and phylogenetic implications of an Early Miocene wren (Aves: Passeriformes: Acanthisittidae) from New Zealand

Trevor H. Worthy, Suzanne Hand, Jacqueline Nguyen, Alan Tennyson, Jennifer Worthy, Richard Scofield, Walter Boles, Michael Archer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    42 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A new species and genus of acanthisittid wren (Aves: Passeriformes: Acanthisittidae) is described from the Early Miocene (1916 Ma) St Bathans Fauna from Otago, New Zealand, based on four fossil bones. The first Tertiary fossil passerine to be described from New Zealand, it is similar in size to New Zealand's smallest extant bird, the Rifleman Acanthisitta chloris. A phylogenetic analysis of 53 osteological characters and 24 terminal taxa, including four suboscines, basal corvoids (Menuridae, Atrichornithidae, Climacteridae, Ptilonorhynchidae, Maluridae, Dasyornithidae, Acanthizidae, Pardalotidae, Meliphagidae), and all seven Recent acanthisittid species, identifies it as the sister group to Acanthisitta. This, the first phylogenetic analysis of the basal passerine groups to use morphological characters, recovers a similar pattern of relationships of basal corvoid taxa to that obtained by recent molecular studies. The analysis also suggests that Acanthisitta chloris and the new species are the most deeply nested taxa within the family, suggesting that the radiation of Recent acanthisittids originated no later than the Early Miocene.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)479-498
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology
    Volume30
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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