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Earth Australia Science

Kiwi Genetically Closer to Extinct Elephant Birds Than to the Emu 46

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-totally-ok-for-them-to-mate dept.
"A new study by the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), has solved a 150-year-old evolutionary mystery about the origins of the giant flightless 'ratite' birds, such as the emu and ostrich, which are found across the southern continents. This group contains some of the world's largest birds - such as the extinct giant moa of New Zealand and elephant birds of Madagascar. ... [A]ncient DNA extracted from bones of two elephant birds held by the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, has revealed a close genetic connection with the kiwi, despite the striking differences in geography, morphology and ecology between the two." Which means that the emu is not, as conventional wisdom has long held, the kiwi's closest link. Here's more on the research from the University of Adelaide.
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Kiwi Genetically Closer to Extinct Elephant Birds Than to the Emu

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