Earth history and the passerine superradiation, PNAS, April 2019.
"Our age estimates provide insight into how the inundation of the New Zealand landmass during the Oligocene might have affected the endemic parrot and passerine families of New Zealand. Assuming Strigopidae, Acanthisittidae, and the oscine lineages Callaeidae and Notiomystidae are autochthonous [indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists], our Oligocene estimate of time of origin for each of these New Zealand endemic families is consistent with the idea that these birds survived the Oligocene drowning event. Our estimate of the age of crown passerines ∼47 million years ago also suggests that the divergence of the Acanthisittidae (NZ Wrens) from all other passerines was not driven by the formation of the Cato Trough between New Zealand and Australia. In contrast to these more general results for New Zealand passerine families, our age estimates suggest that the New Zealand-endemic Mohouas (Mohouidae) in Corvides diverged from the sittellas (Neosittidae) of Australasia during the Early Miocene ∼20 million years ago, a substantially younger age for Mohouas than previously estimated. This divergence estimate implies that Mohoua ancestors dispersed to New Zealand following the Oligocene drowning event. It is also notable that the split of Callaeidae and Notiomystidae from other oscines in Passerides has a credible interval that overlaps with the divergence of Strigopidae from all other parrots during the Oligocene 29–31 million years ago. The coincidence of these splits is likely random, arising from events like over-water dispersal, because no geological evidence supports the existence of a land bridge connecting Australia and New Zealand 29–31 million years ago."
Link to full study: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019 ... 1813206116
Discussion about the evolution, relationships, and naming of New Zealand birds
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- Michael Szabo
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