New Zealand palaelodus

Palaelodus aotearoa Worthy, Tennyson, Archer & Scofield, 2010

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

 
 
New Zealand palaelodus. Holotype (distal right tibiotarsus), S.051799, Te Papa. St Bathans. Image © Te Papa

New Zealand palaelodus. Holotype (distal right tibiotarsus), S.051799, Te Papa. St Bathans. Image © Te Papa

Palaelodids were members of an extinct family of long-legged aquatic birds placed within the same order as flamingos. They are sometimes referred to as ‘swimming flamingos’.

The New Zealand palaelodus was described from parts of 2 tibiotarsi recovered from 19-16 million-year-old (Early Miocene) lake-bed deposits near the Manuherikia River, St Bathans, central Otago.

The holotype (NMNZ S.51799) is a distal right tibiotarsus held at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The paratype (NMNZ S.51258, another partial tibiotarsus) is also held at Te Papa.

The species name is based on the most widely used Māori name for New Zealand.

Elsewhere, palaelodid remains have been found in Europe, Egypt, North and South America and Australia. The New Zealand palaelodid was of medium size, being slightly smaller than Palaelodus wilsoni from 26-24 million-year-old (Oligo-Miocene) deposits in South Australia. Compared to other members of the genus, the New Zealand bird had a stouter shaft to the tibiotarsus.

Weblinks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaelodidae

http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/fossils/6/1

References

Worthy, T.H.; Tennyson, A.J.D.; Archer, M.; Scofield, R.P. 2010.  First record of Palaelodus (Aves: Phoenicopteriformes) from New Zealand. Records of the Australian Museum 62: 77-88.

Recommended citation

Miskelly, C.M. 2013. New Zealand palaelodus. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

New Zealand palaelodus

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