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Re: emu history
At 04:56 PM 1/14/2004, Phil Hore wrote:
Would you not mean when Gondwana seperated from Africa? What does it
matter to the ostrich when Australia seperated from Antartica, unless your
saying they flew to Africa 45 million years ago.
That is actually a possibility given some views on ostrich relationships;
Ostriches may have actually evolved in Eurasia according to some, and I
gather Cooper favoured this in his 2001 paper. The point, anyway, is that
the most recent date at which the emu-cassowary lineage in Australia (there
may have been some in Antarctica, too, of course) could have been sympatric
with any other flightless ratite lineages is the last date at which
Australasia broke away from Antarctica.
again, Africa and Gondwana, I cannot see anyway of a ratite getting to
both Africa and Australia otherwise. This would be during the cretaceous-
roughly 80 MYA. True Emus though evoloving of course must have been much
later then that but the split must have been then!
Bear in mind that we don't know anything about the ratite fauna of
pre-glacial Antarctica. Ostrich and emu ancestors could have mingled there
long after Africa broke away.
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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