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Cenozoic megapodes of Australia (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Elen Shute, Gavin J. Prideaux, Trevor H. Worthy, 2017

Taxonomic review of the late Cenozoic megapodes (Galliformes: Megapodiidae) of Australia.

Royal Society Open Science 4: 170233 : 1-72
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170233


Megapodes are unusual galliform birds that use passive heat sources to incubate their eggs. Evolutionary relationships of extant megapode taxa have become clearer with the advent of molecular analyses, but the systematics of large, extinct forms (Progura gallinacea, Progura naracoortensis) from the late Cenozoic of Australia has been a source of confusion. It was recently suggested that the two species of Progura were synonymous, and that this taxon dwarfed into the extant malleefowl Leipoa ocellata in the Late Pleistocene. Here, we review previously described fossils along with newly discovered material from several localities, and present a substantial taxonomic revision. We show that P. gallinacea and P. naracoortensis are generically distinct, describe two new species of megapode from the Thylacoleo Caves of south-central Australia, and a new genus from Curramulka Quarry in southern Australia. We also show that L. ocellata was contemporaneous with larger species. Our phylogenetic analysis places four extinct taxa in a derived clade with the extant Australo-Papuan brush-turkeys Talegalla fuscirostris, L. ocellata, Alectura lathami and Aepypodius bruijnii. Therefore, diversity of brush-turkeys halved during the Quaternary, matching extinction rates of scrubfowl in the Pacific. Unlike extant brush-turkeys, all the extinct taxa appear to have been burrow-nesters.

Free pdf: http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royopensci/4/6/170233.full.pdf

New taxa:
Progura campestris Shute Prideaux & Worthy, sp. nov.
Latagallina Shute, Prideaux & Worthy, gen. nov.
Latagallina naracoortensis (van Tets, 1974).
Latagallina olsoni Shute, Prideaux & Worthy, sp. nov.
Garrdimalga Shute, Prideaux & Worthy, gen. nov.
Garrdimalga mcnamarai Shute, Prideaux and Worthy, sp. nov.




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Would be interesting to know why to do they reinstate the genus name Progura. W. E. Boles synonymized Progura and Leipoa in 2004.

https://books.google.de/books?id=fE...AEIWTAJ#v=onepage&q=leipoa gallinacea&f=false

It's all in the paper on page 7-8: Differential diagnosis: The tarsometatarsi of extant genera of megapode differ from Progura as
follows. (i) In Leipoa, the shaft is proportionally shorter and stouter, the distal end is proportionally wider (LeipoaDW=23–24% length. (ii) In Leipoa and Megapodius, the proximal end flares strongly medially from the shaft as it widens to meet the cotyla medialis, thus housing a larger fossa parahypotarsalis medialis, whereas the proximal end is more symmetrical, and the fossa smaller, in Progura. (iii) In Leipoa, Alectura, Megapodius and Eulipoa, the foramen vascularis proximalis medialis is larger and placed a little more distally than its lateral counterpart (relative size and position of the foramina could not be accurately determined in Aepypodius due to immaturity of the available specimen; character state is variable in Talegalla). (iv) In Leipoa, Alectura and especially so in Megapodius, the sulcus infracotylaris is deeper, and is bounded by raised areas of bone laterally, medially and proximally (could not be accurately determined in Aepypodius; variable among species of Talegalla). (v) Leipoa is differentiated by having a single fused tuberositas m. tibialis cranialis rather than the tuberositas having two distinct parts. In Talegalla, this character is variable among species. All other genera have an elongated tuberosity visibly divided into two parallel ridges (could not be determined in Aepypodius), and further differ from Progura by their placement and relative size: in Megapodius, Eulipoa and Alectura, the medial part of the tuberosity is broader and more elevated from the shaft than the lateral part; in T. jobiensis, the tuberosities are particularly elongate and are laterally offset from the midline of the bone shaft. In Megapodius, Eulipoa and Leipoa, the tuberositas is dorsally prominent and is visibly elevated above the shaft surface in lateral and/or medial aspect (character is variable among species of Talegalla). (vi) In all compared genera, the impressiones retinaculi extensori are more prominent than in Progura, and are especially prominent in Macrocephalon. The placement of the retinaculi differs from Progura in other genera as follows: in Megapodius, the proximodistal placement of both retinaculi is roughly level with the foramen vascularis proximalis lateralis, with the lateral retinaculum abutting the sulcus infracotylaris; in Alectura, both retinaculi are about level with one another and are placed slightly proximal of the level of the foramina; in Leipoa, the medial retinaculum is placed further proximally than the lateral, with the lateral retinaculum placed immediately proximomedial to the foramen proximalis medialis, abutting the sulcus infracotylaris dorsalis; proximodistal placement of the retinaculi is variable in Talegalla, these being roughly level with the foramina in T. fuscirostris and proximal of the level of the foramina in T. jobiensis. (vii) The hypotarsus is proportionally deeper dorsoventrally (approx. 50% of the depth of the cotyla medialis) in Leipoa and Megapodius. (viii) In Megapodius and Eulipoa, the hypotarsus is strongly recurved distally, and has a deeply hooked appearance in lateral/medial aspect. The hypotarsus in Talegalla and Alectura is also hooked, although less strongly so. In Megapodius and Aepypodius, the junction between the distal end of the medial hypotarsal crest and the plantar facies is abrupt rather than smoothly curved, meeting at approximately 90° in medial aspect. (ix) Trochlea metatarsi II lacks a median groove distodorsally in Leipoa, Macrocephalon, Megapodius, Eulipoa, Aepypodius, Alectura and Talegalla. Trochlea IV is strongly grooved distodorsally in Leipoa, Macrocephalon, Megapodius, Alectura and weakly so in Aepypodius and Talegalla.
Would be interesting to know why to do they reinstate the genus name Progura. W. E. Boles synonymized Progura and Leipoa in 2004.

https://books.google.de/books?id=fE...AEIWTAJ#v=onepage&q=leipoa gallinacea&f=false

Remarks: Our morphological observations indicate substantial differences between Progura and Leipoa. As per our generic diagnosis, compared with Leipoa, Progura has: amore elongate tarsometatarsus, lacking a marked medial flaring of the shaft proximally; similar-sized vascularia proximalia; a relatively shallow sulcus infracotylaris dorsalis; the tuberositas m. tibialis is paired and unfused rather than comprising a single fused tuberosity; weakly marked and more proximally located impressiones retinaculi extensorii; less plantar extension of the hypotarsus; a trochlea metatarsi II that lacks a median groove; and a trochlea metatarsi IV that is more weakly grooved. Therefore, we reject the statement that ‘[o]ther than size, no differences could be found between these two genera that could not be attributed to individual variation within and among the samples’ [24]. These, and multiple other differences in other parts of the skeleton (see below), lead to our rejection of the synonymy of Progura with Leipoa (cf. [24]). This conclusion receives further support in our phylogenetic analysis (see below).

[24] = Boles WE. 2008 Systematics of the fossil Australian giant megapodes Progura (Aves: Megapodiidae). Oryctos 7, 195–215.

Hope I explained enough,



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