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Re: The duck that ruled the world.




Finback wrote:

> Wow! The implication is that the dromornithids - the largest birds > > that ever lived - were not ratites but giant members of the > Anseriformes (ducks, geese, swans).

This doesn't seem that recent a revelation. In Michael Archer and Suzanne Hand's "The Antipodean Ark" [1987], Pat Rich said:
"Although _Ilbandornis_ and other mihirungs have been called "giant emus", they are quite distinct from emus and cassowaries and in fact > show closer affinity to the game bird group to wwhich quail and the domestic fowl belong."

Quail and domestic fowl are Galliformes. Ducks and kin are Anseriformes. Until about 15 years ago, the mihirungs (Dromornithidae)were assumed to be related to the emu and cassowaries (Casuariformes).


And this raises a question - aren't kiwis considered to be essentially
moas, albeit aberrant pygmy forms? Or am I getting my dromornithids mixed
up with moas?

Moas and kiwis are Dinornithiformes. Moas (_Dinornis_, _Euryapteryx_, _Emeus_, _Pachyornis_, _Megalapteryx_, _Anomalopteryx_) belong to two families, Dinornithidae and Emeidae, within the Dinornithiformes. Kiwis (_Apteryx_), which are still with us, belong to a third family, Apterygidae.



Tim


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