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Just one brief point as a supplement to Ron Orenstein's excellent and
authoritative rail post. 

It is still not widely appreciated how numerous and diverse Recent rallid taxa
were for the simple reason that virtually all of them (statistically) are now
extinct. Turns out that Pacific islands were teeming with the little beasts:
according to Storrs Olson, world authority on Pacific island birds, over 3000 -
 yes, 3000 - Pacific rallid species have become extinct in Recent times. Most
of this work presently remains unpublished: I'm keeping an eye out for it in
_Pacific Ocean Science_ but if anyone is aware of any more recent developments
I'd be interested to hear.

"That wasn't a laser blast, something hit us"