Taxonomy

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Systematic and taxonomic studies help build our knowledge of the diversity of Australian fauna, and their evolutionary relationships.

Study of vertebrate fossils from the Naracoorte Caves has increased knowledge of the diversity of extinct Australian fauna. It has also brought about revision of the taxonomy of some vertebrate groups, such as the mound building birds.

Specimens from the Naracoorte Caves have also contributed to systematic studies, enhancing knowledge of the evolutionary relationships within and among major marsupial groups (e.g. Macropodidae – the kangaroos).

There has been a bias towards studies of kangaroos, likely a result of the abundance, diversity and quality of material available for these animals in the cave deposits.

There is opportunity to expand taxonomic and systematic studies into other marsupial groups (e.g. Dasyuridae – carnivorous marsupials), as well as into non-mammalian fauna and flora which are well represented in the fossil assemblages.

The distribution of research effort across different taxonomic groups is as follows:

  • Macropodidae (kangaroos) – 8 papers, 2 theses
  • Non-Macropodidae Marsupials – 5 papers, 1 thesis
  • Placental Mammals – 1 thesis
  • Birds – 3 papers
  • Frogs – 1 paper
  • Reptiles – 2 papers

Further reading

  • Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics of the fossil Australian giant megapodes Progura (Aves: Megapodiidae). Oryctos 7, 191–211.
  • Easton, L. C. 2006. Pleistocene grey kangaroos from the fossil chamber of Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 130, 17–29.
  • Easton, L.C. 2004. Fossil wallabies in the fossil deposit of the Victoria Cave Fossil Chamber, Naracoorte, South Australia. South Australian Naturalist 78, 18–24.
  • Griffiths, M., Wells, R.T. and Barrie, D.J. 1991. Observations on the skulls of fossil and extant echidnas (Monotremata: Tachyglossidae). Australian Mammalogy 14, 87–101.
  • McNamara, J.A. 1997. Some smaller macropod fossils of South Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 117, 97–104.
  • Merrilees, D. 1965. Two species of the extinct genus Sthenurus Owen (Marsupialia, Macropodidae) from south-eastern Australia, including Sthenurus gilli sp. nov. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 48, 22–32.
  • Murray, P.F. 1978. Late Cenozoic monotreme anteaters. Australian Zoologist 20, 29–55.
  • Pledge, N.S. 1977. A new species of Thylacoleo (Marsupialia: Thyloacoleonidae) with notes on the occurrences and distribution of Thylacoleonidae in South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 17, 277–283.
  • Pledge, N.S. 1980. Giant echidnas in South Australia. South Australian Naturalist 55, 27–30.
  • Pledge, N.S. 1991. Occurrences of Palorchestes species (Marsupialia: Palorchestidae) in South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 25, 161–174.
  • Prideaux, G.J. 2000. Simosthenurus newtonae sp. nov., a widespread sthenurine kangaroo (Diprotodontia Macropodidae) from the Pleistocene of southern and eastern Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum 22, 1–15.
  • Prideaux, G.J. 2004. Systematics and evolution of the sthenurine kangaroos. Geological Sciences 146.
  • Prideaux, G.J. and Wells, R.T. 1998. Sthenurus baileyi sp. nov., a new fossil kangaroo from the Pleistocene of southern Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 122, 1–15.
  • Scanlon, J. D. and Lee, M. S. Y. 2002. Varanoid-like dentition in primitive snakes. Journal of Herpetology 36, 100–106.
  • Smith, M.J., 1976. Small fossil vertebrates from Victoria Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. IV. Reptiles. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 100, 39–51.
  • Tyler, M.J. 1977. Pleistocene frogs from caves at Naracoorte, South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 101, 85–89.
  • Van Tets, G.F. and Smith, M.J. 1974. Small fossil vertebrates from Victoria Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. III. Birds. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 98, 225–227.
  • Van Tets, G.F., 1974. A revision of the fossil Megapodiidae (Aves), including a description of a new speices Progura de Vis. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 98, 213–224.
  • Wells, R.T. and Murray, P.F. 1979. A new sthenurine kangaroo (Marsupialia, Macropodidae) from southeastern South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 103, 213–219.