Evolutionary history of Kea and Kaka - new study

Discussion about the evolution, relationships, and naming of New Zealand birds
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Michael Szabo
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Evolutionary history of Kea and Kaka - new study

Postby Michael Szabo » Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:56 pm

"We use whole genome data of the Kea and its close, forest adapted sister species,
Kaka to reconstruct the evolutionary history of both species."

Link to news report: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... 3lIKaCW0Y0

Link to paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epd ... /mec.15978
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andrewcrossland
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Re: Evolutionary history of Kea and Kaka - new study

Postby andrewcrossland » Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:14 pm

two thoughts on this - 1) Kea were already pretty much an alpine species when European naturalists arrived in the South Island and the Maori population were largely concentrated on the coast and were small in number compared to human densities in other countries where some bird species may well have been forced out of lowlands and into the mountains, so the theory quoted below seems a bit far-fetched ....

"He said that idea that kea had moved specifically to avoid people was still speculative, and there wasn’t enough information to establish any causative relationship between human settlements expanding and the birds’ adoption of mountainous zones. But given kea were physically able to survive in a variety of habitats, it made sense to examine what the primary differences were. “What distinguishes the alpine habitat from the New Zealand lower-lying open habitats? [There] are usually heavily anthropogenic influences, agriculture going on and so on.”

2) Having seen how Kea can find their way into all sorts of mischief at skifield carparks, rubbish dumps and in small townships like Franz, Fox and Arthurs Pass, its a wonder they've not discovered the bigger towns and cities and became our equivalent of crows or vultures living in town like some places overseas?
Jim_j
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Re: Evolutionary history of Kea and Kaka - new study

Postby Jim_j » Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:12 am

Agree - I would have thought it much more likely that Kea were formerly more generalist and widespread but due to their curious nature quickly eliminated by early Maori settlers from the lowland areas - leaving remaining birds mainly confined to more remote alpine places.
I doubt there are enough Kea left to expand into urban areas - from all accounts numbers are still in decline - nice thought though.

cheers
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Ian Southey
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Re: Evolutionary history of Kea and Kaka - new study

Postby Ian Southey » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:49 pm

Kea are known from fossil deposits laid down in South Island lowland forests, can still be found breeding in lowland forest at Okarito and maybe other places. I don't really understand the surprise. I think their extinction from the North Island has been attributed to people. Retreat to high altitude is often a symptom of predator pressure so maybe they will be more fun after 2050.

Ian
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Michael Szabo
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Re: Evolutionary history of Kea and Kaka - new study

Postby Michael Szabo » Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:10 pm

"Strongly divergent demographic responses to past climate warming between the species nevertheless highlight potential future threats to kea survival in a warming world."
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