Friday, December 3, 2021

Our evolving view of the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) and its allies

TitleOur evolving view of the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) and its allies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsChambers, GK, Worthy, TH
Type of ArticleFull article
KeywordsKakapo, New Zealand, species origins, Strigops habroptilus, vicariant speciation

This paper surveys molecular and morphological work on parrots over the last 20 years and we show how it has re-shaped popular and scientific views regarding endemic New Zealand taxa. Recent research has shown the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) is not closely related to apparent counterparts in Australia but in fact is a member of an ancient and exclusively New Zealand clade together with the kea and the kaka (Nestor spp.). Superficially similar Australian nocturnal taxa, the night (Pezoporus occidentalis) and the ground parrot (P. wallicus) are members of an altogether different family. At the same time, the parrots as a worldwide group have more or less retained their sense of Gondwanan ancestry, but with an increased focus on Australasia as a centre of origin. The previous paradigm explaining contemporary parrot diversity that suggested evolution was brought about exclusively by vicariant speciation has been supplanted with a synergistic model of dispersal and vicariance following the demonstration that multiple dispersal events have occurred, for example from Australia across the chain of Indian Ocean Islands to Africa.

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