Stone the crows -- kiwis are descended from emus
Published 18/12/2013 | 23:32
New Zealand's kiwi, the flightless bird which has become synonymous with its citizens and especially its All Blacks rugby team, may have descended from an ancestor which flew over from the country's arch rival, Australia.
In a finding that is likely to confirm the long-held New Zealand belief that Australia lays claim to all its famous creatures -- from the racehorse Phar Lap to actor Russell Crowe -- research suggests the kiwi shared an ancestor with Australia's giant flightless bird, the emu.
Trevor Worthy, a New Zealand-born palaeontologist at Australia's Flinders University, said fossils suggest the kiwi did not derive from a larger ancestor, the extinct giant moa, as had long been thought.
Instead, the fossilised bird and the emu are both believed to have evolved from a common ancestor which originated in Australia