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Dating the late prehistoric dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand using the commensal Pacific rat
TLDR
Radiocarbon dates on distinctive rat-gnawed seeds and rat bones show that the Pacific rat was introduced to both main islands of New Zealand ≈1280 A.D., a millennium later than previously assumed, implying there was no long period of invisibility in either the archaeological or palaeoecological records.
Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution
TLDR
It is suggested that convergence toward gigantism and flightlessness was facilitated by early Tertiary expansion into the diurnal herbivory niche after the extinction of the dinosaurs.
The evolutionary history of the extinct ratite moa and New Zealand Neogene paleogeography
TLDR
This work synthesizes mitochondrial phylogenetic information from 263 subfossil moa specimens from across NZ with morphological, ecological, and new geological data to create the first comprehensive phylogeny, taxonomy, and evolutionary timeframe for all of the species of an extinct order.
A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact
TLDR
An annotated working list of the bird species breeding in New Zealand during the late Pleistocene and Holocene, up to the time of human contact is presented, showing that there are many avenues for research on the rate of evolution in island and mainland populations of New Zealand birds.
Palaeoecological information concerning members of the frog genus Leiopelma: Leiopelmatidae in New Zealand
  • T. Worthy
  • Environmental Science, Biology
  • 1 December 1987
TLDR
The morphological characters of the frogs, and the characteristics of the subfossil sites, suggest that the presumably extinct L. waitomoensis Worthy 1987 was a strongly hopping, stream or streamside frog, whereas L. markhami Worthy1987, a slightly smaller extinct species, was primarily a walking, terrestrial frog.
Osteology of Leiopelma (Amphibia: Leiopelmatidae) and descriptions of three new subfossil Leiopelma species
TLDR
Detailed osteological studies of the Leiopelmatidae support the distinction of that family from the Ascaphidac and the data do not support the contention of Stephcnson (1960), that L. archeyi is neotenic in relation to L. hamiltoni.
Miocene mammal reveals a Mesozoic ghost lineage on insular New Zealand, southwest Pacific
TLDR
Its presence in NZ in the Middle Miocene and apparent absence from Australia and other adjacent landmasses at this time appear to reflect a Gondwanan vicariant event and imply persistence of emergent land during the Oligocene marine transgression of NZ.
Descriptions and phylogenetic relationships of two new genera and four new species of Oligo‐Miocene waterfowl (Aves: Anatidae) from Australia
TLDR
Oxyurines are found to include the Recent Stictonetta and Malacorhynchus as basal members, along with the fossil taxa Mionetta, Manuherikia, and Dunstanetta, and the traditionally included Recent Oxyura, Biziura, Thalassornis, and Nomonyx.
Relict or colonizer? Extinction and range expansion of penguins in southern New Zealand
TLDR
This new penguin species is described, the first known to have suffered human-mediated extinction, and its dynamic biological response to human predation reveals a surprising and less recognized potential for species to have benefited from the extinction of their ecologically similar sister taxa.
Extreme reversed sexual size dimorphism in the extinct New Zealand moa Dinornis
TLDR
It is shown, using the first sex-linked nuclear sequences from an extinct species, that on each island the three morphological forms actually represent just one species, whose size varied markedly according to sex and habitat.
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