Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in The Wilson Bulletin 81:2 (June 1969), pp. 230-231.


Our dearth of knowledge concerning Australian waterfowl has, until recently at least, been so severe as to once stimulate Ernst Mayr to write a paper (Emu, 45:229-232, 1946) reminding Australians how little was then known about their native waterfowl. The situation was especially serious in view of the fact that no fewer than six of Australia’s 19 species of indigenous waterfowl represent monotypic genera that are largely or entirely restricted to that continent. Furthermore, these include such phylogenetically significant and taxonomically controversial genera as Anseranas, Cereopsis, Malacorhynthus, and Stictonetta, the last two of which have never been available for behavioral study outside Australia. In view of this, any amount of new information on Australian waterfowl must be enthusiastically welcomed; an entire book on the subject can only be regarded as a godsend.

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