A new fossil species of Procellaria (Aves: Procellariiformes) from the Pliocene of New Zealand
Keywords:Procellaria altirostris sp. nov., Petrel, Piacenzian, Procellariidae, Taranaki
We describe a new Procellaria petrel species from the late Pliocene of Taranaki, New Zealand. The new species is most similar morphologically to the White-Chinned Petrel (P. aequinoctialis), Spectacled Petrel (P. conspicillata) and the Westland Petrel (P. westlandica). Compared with those taxa, the new species has a deeper and shorter premaxilla, longer coracoid and shorter wings, while its legs are a similar size. Today, New Zealand is the centre of global diversity of the genus, with four breeding species. This is the first fossil species of Procellaria to be described from New Zealand, attesting to a reasonably long history of this genus in the region.
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