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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.
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