Paleontological Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 11, pp 1355–1364 | Cite as

A new species of Late Pleistocene rail (Aves: Rallidae) from Abaco, the Bahamas

  • D. W. SteadmanEmail author
  • J. R. Morris
  • N. A. Wright


We describe a new species of rail from the Sawmill Sink blue hole on Abaco Island in the northern Bahamas. Known from abundant, beautifully preserved Late Pleistocene fossils, Rallus cyanocavi sp. nov. was a medium-sized, flightless species that probably was endemic to the Little Bahama Bank, which is a carbonate platform surrounded by deeper water. We are uncertain whether R. cyanocavi survived into the Holocene, when higher sea levels transformed the Little Bahama Bank from a single large, Late Pleistocene island (ca. 12000 km2) to the scattering of smaller islands seen today, the largest of which is Abaco (1681 km2). Fossils of additional extinct, flightless species of Rallus probably await discovery on some of the 21 other carbonate banks that span the Bahamian Archipelago.


Rails Rallus Late Pleistocene Bahamas blue holes extinction flightlessness 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida Museum of Natural HistoryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Museum of Southwestern BiologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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