Distribution and Speciation of Megapodes (Megapodiidae) and Subsequent Development of their Breeding

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Megapodes (Megapodiidae), the most peculiar of all Galliformes, are of Gondwana origin. On the Australian plate they shifted from normal avian incubation to their aberrant strategy of incubating eggs in mounds of sand and leaf litter where heat is generated by microbial decomposition. From here, they spread through the Indonesian archipelago and eastwards into Polynesia, resulting in rapid speciation and the use of alternative heat sources for the incubation of their eggs.