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>ABC science news/Reuters says that the takahe "evolved from the >alpine 
rail". If true, it makes a neat before-and-after picture of the 
>evolution to flightlessness.

The takahe (_Porphyrio mantelli_) is a member a of the Rallidae, the 
rail, gallinule, and coot family.  Its nearest relative is the purple 
swamphen (_Porphyrio porphyrio_), which is widespread geographically (in 
contrast to _P. mantelli_) and has numerous races.  Interestingly, _P. 
mantelli_ was originally a fossil species by Richard Owen from a fossil 
skull and was named Notornis mantelli.  Later, a live _"N". mantelli_ 
was found, and recently it was sunk down into Porphyrio.  

Matt Troutman

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