Descriptions and phylogenetic relationships of a new genus and two new species of Oligo‐Miocene cormorants (Aves: Phalacrocoracidae) from Australia

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (Impact Factor: 2.72). 08/2011; 163(1):277 - 314. DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2011.00693.x


Tertiary cormorant fossils (Aves: Phalacrocoracidae) from Late Oligocene deposits in Australia are described. They derive from the Late Oligocene – Early Miocene (26–24 Mya) Etadunna and Namba Formations in the Lake Eyre and Lake Frome Basins, South Australia, respectively. A new genus, Nambashag gen. nov., with two new species (Nambashag billerooensis sp. nov., 30 specimens; Nambashag microglaucus sp. nov., 14 specimens), has been established. Phylogenetic analyses based on 113 morphological and two integumentary characters indicated that Nambashag is the sister taxon to the Early Miocene Nectornis miocaenus of Europe and all extant phalacrocoracids. As Nambashag, Nectornis, and extant phalacrocoracids constitute a strongly supported clade sister to Anhinga species, the fossil taxa have been referred to Phalacrocoracidae. Sulids and Fregata were successive sister taxa to the Phalacrocoracoidea, i.e. phalacrocoracids + Anhinga. As phalacrocoracids lived in both Europe and Australia during the Late Oligocene and no older phalacrocoracid taxa are known, the biogeographical origin of cormorants remains unanswered. The phylogenetic relationships of extant taxa were not wholly resolved, but contrary to previous morphological analyses, considerable concordance was found with relationships recovered by recent molecular analyses. Microcarbo is sister to all other extant phalacrocoracids, and all Leucocarbo species form a well-supported clade.© 2011 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2011, 163, 277–314.

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Available from: Trevor H Worthy, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "Fossil birds from the late Oligocene–early Miocene of the Allier basin (Saint-G erand-le-Puy area) in central France have been known since the 19th century (e.g., Milne-Edwards, 1863, 1867–1871). Most birds from these localities already at that time closely resembled their extant relatives, although recent research has shown that many occupy basal, i.e., early diverging, positions within their respective clades (e.g., Worthy and Lee, 2008; De Pietri et al., 2011a, 2011b; Worthy, 2011). A notable exception is Ibidopodia palustris Milne-Edwards, 1868 (issued in parts), which has remained an enigmatic bird of uncertain affinities. "
    Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 11/2014; 34(6):1470-1475. DOI:10.1080/02724634.2014.860151 · 1.98 Impact Factor
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    • "Siegel-Causey [18] proposed osteological character state changes that united his New Zealand blue-eyed shags, but was unable to distinguish between L. chalconotus and L. onslowi, due to small sample size and a lack of comparative material (cf. Worthy [20] who found 14 osteological character state differences between these two taxa). Siegel-Causey [18] tentatively retained L. chalconotus as a distinct species, sister to a group containing L. onslowi, L. ranfurlyi and L. colensoi. "
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    • "The lake was rich in fish with at least a dozen species known (Galaxiidae 6, Retropinnidae 2, Eleotridae 4; see Schwarzhans et al., 2012) providing plentiful prey for piscivores. It is interesting that to date there is no evidence for other piscivores such as Pelecanidae, Phalacrocoracidae, Anhingidae, and Phoenicopteridae in this lake, although all are present in lacustrine deposits of older and younger age in Australia across the Tasman Sea (Worthy, 2011, 2012, and references therein). Conn versely, the Australian record lacks fossil herons older than the Pliocene (Boles and Mackness, 1994). "
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