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On a hitherto undescribed Dodo cranium, Raphus cucullatus L. (Aves, Columbiformes), with a brief taxonomical overview of this extinct flightless Mascarene Island bird

Anwar JANOO

en Bulletin du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, 4ème série – section C – Sciences de la Terre, Paléontologie, Géologie, Minéralogie 18 (4) - Pages 57-77

Published on 04 March 1996

A skull of the dodo Raphus cucullatus from Mauritius Island is hereby described and a brief overview of dodo systematics is outlined. Although Raphus as well as the Rodrigues Solitaire Pezophaps solitaria are traditionally placed next to the columbids, their taxonomic position within the columbiform clade is uncertain. Potentially shared derived characters of both species seem to point towards a sister group relationship between these Mascarene birds and the family Columbidae. Columbiform interrelationships have not yet been analysed in a cladistic framework, therefore, the whole discussion regarding the phylogenetic status of the family Raphidae awaits a cladistic reappraisal of this clade.
Keywords :
Dodo, solitaire, Raphidae, Columbiformes, Mascarene, taxonomy