Two species of closely related native pigeons currently inhabit the New Zealand archipelago, namely Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae and H. chathamensis. An early Miocene pigeon from the St Bathans Fauna (South Island, New Zealand), Rupephaps taketake, was described based on a coracoid and hypothesized to be closely related to species of Hemiphaga and the Australian Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus. Here we describe additional material of R. taketake, namely a tarsometatarsus, and reassess its affinities based on a comprehensive sample of extant comparative specimens. We hypothesize that R. taketake is not more closely related to species of Hemiphaga than to the clade including Indonesian/Melanesian mountain pigeons (Gymnophaps) and L. antarcticus, and was likely to have been outside the clade including these taxa. A second species of pigeon, Deliaphaps zealandiensis gen. et sp. nov. occurred in New Zealand during the early Miocene. Although more fossil material will be needed to corroborate the phylogenetic affinities of this pigeon, based on the carpometacarpus, we propose a tentative close relationship with the clade including the Samoan Tooth-billed Pigeon Didunculus strigirostris, crowned pigeons of the genus-level taxon Goura, and the Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica. This is the first record for members of this clade in the southern part of Zealandia.
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|
|Event||9th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution - Diamante, Argentina|
Duration: 1 Aug 2016 → 6 Aug 2016
|Conference||9th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution|
|Period||1/08/16 → 6/08/16|