A new species of rail (Aves: Rallidae) from the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene of Eivissa (Pityusic Islands, western Mediterranean)
Article first published online: 10 OCT 2005
Volume 147, Issue 4, pages 706–716, October 2005
How to Cite
MCMINN, M., PALMER, M. and ALCOVER, J. A. (2005), A new species of rail (Aves: Rallidae) from the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene of Eivissa (Pityusic Islands, western Mediterranean). Ibis, 147: 706–716. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2005.00442.x
- Issue published online: 10 OCT 2005
- Article first published online: 10 OCT 2005
- Received 26 February 2004; revision accepted 18 March 2005.
A new species of rail is described from a Pleistocene and Holocene cave deposit on the island of Eivissa, Pityusic Islands (western Mediterranean Sea). Rallus eivissensis sp. nov. was an insular relative of the European Water Rail Rallus aquaticus. Compared with the extant Water Rail, the new species was smaller and stouter, had shorter and more robust hind limbs and shorter wings, with probably reduced flight ability. The Pityusics were the only Mediterranean islands with a vertebrate Quaternary fauna lacking terrestrial mammals, and this absence is no doubt related to the Eivissan rail evolution. The chronology of the Rallus eivissensis sp. nov. extinction overlaps broadly with a period of uncertainty for the arrival of humans at Eivissa, suggesting a relationship between the two events.