Quaternary fossil faunas of Otago, South Island, New Zealand

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The Quaternary terrestrial faunas, primarily birds, of three inland districts in Otago, South Island, New Zealand are described. The three areas (North Otago, Central Otago and near Wanaka) differ in their present topography and climate, and their palaeofaunas are also different: that of North Otago is considerably more diverse than either of the others. The differences are related to habitat diversity and climate. In Otago, 62 native species of birds, plus greater and lesser short‐tailed bats Mystacina spp., tuatara Sphenodon, Duvaucel’s gecko Hoplodactylus duvaucelii, common gecko H. maculatus, and indeterminate skinks Oligosoma spp, are recorded from fossil deposits. Most deposits are of Holocene age. Swamp‐miring, predation by laughing owls and falcons, and pitfall processes were responsible for accumulating the fossils. The holotype of Ocydromus insignis Forbes is identified, and the species synonymised with Gallirallus australis Sparrman.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-521
Number of pages101
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Birds
  • Fossil vertebrates
  • New Zealand
  • Otago
  • Quaternary palaeofauna
  • Taphonomy


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