The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres)

dc.contributor.author Worthy, Trevor
dc.contributor.author Degrange, Federico Javier
dc.contributor.author Handley, Warren
dc.contributor.author Lee, Michael S Y
dc.date.accessioned 2017-11-21T01:41:16Z
dc.date.available 2017-11-21T01:41:16Z
dc.date.issued 2017-10-11
dc.description Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited. en_US
dc.description.abstract The extinct dromornithids, gastornithids and phorusrhacids are among the most spectacular birds to have ever lived, with some giants exceeding 500 kg. The affinities and evolution of these and other related extinct birds remain contentious, with previous phylogenetic analyses being affected by widespread convergence and limited taxon sampling. We address these problems using both parsimony and tip-dated Bayesian approaches on an expansive taxon set that includes all key extinct flightless and flighted (e.g. Vegavis and lithornithids) forms, an extensive array of extant fowl (Galloanseres), representative Neoaves and palaeognaths. The Paleogene volant Lithornithidae are recovered as stem palaeognaths in the Bayesian analyses. The Galloanseres comprise four clades inferred to have diverged in the Late Cretaceous on Gondwana. In addition to Anseriformes and Galliformes, we recognize a robust new clade (Gastornithiformes) for the giant flightless Dromornithidae (Australia) and Gastornithidae (Eurasia, North America). This clade exhibits parallels to ratite palaeognaths in that flight presumably was lost and giant size attained multiple times. A fourth clade is represented by the Cretaceous Vegavis (Antarctica), which was strongly excluded from Anseriformes; thus, a crucial molecular calibration point needs to be reconsidered. The presbyornithids Wilaru (Australia) and Presbyornis (Northern Hemisphere) are robustly found to be the sister group to Anatoidea (Anseranatidae + Anatidae), a relatively more basal position than hitherto recognized. South America's largest bird, Brontornis, is not a galloansere, but a member of Neoaves related to Cariamiformes; therefore, giant Galloanseres remain unknown from this continent. Trait analyses showed that while gigantism and flightlessness evolved repeatedly in groups, diet is constrained by phylogeny: all giant Galloanseres and palaeognaths are herbivores or mainly herbivorous, and giant neoavians are zoophagous or omnivorous. en_US
dc.identifier.citation Worthy TH, Degrange FJ, Handley WD, Lee MSY. 2017 The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres). R.Soc.opensci. 4 : 170975. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170975 en_US
dc.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170975 en
dc.identifier.issn 2054-5703
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2328/37693
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher The Royal Society en_US
dc.relation http://purl.org/au-research/grants/ARC/DE130101133 en_US
dc.relation.grantnumber ARC/DE130101133 en_US
dc.rights Copyright 2017 The Authors. en_US
dc.rights.holder The Authors. en_US
dc.rights.license CC-BY
dc.subject Galloanseres en_US
dc.subject Dromornithidae en_US
dc.subject Gastornis en_US
dc.subject Brontornis en_US
dc.subject Fossil birds en_US
dc.subject morphological phylogenetics en_US
dc.title The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres) en_US
dc.type Article en
local.contributor.authorOrcidLookup Worthy, Trevor: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7047-4680 en_US
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