On the Extinct Emeu of the Small Islands off the South Coast of Australia and Probably Tasmania

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Abstract

SOME of my colleagues in Australia, as I gather from “Notes” in NATURE (vol. lxxv., pp. 228, 467), have lately been at work on the identification of the small emeu of the islands in Bass Strait and Tasmania, now extinct. Prof. Baldwin Spencer, of Melbourne, having examined the bones of the emeu which once lived on King Island and found them smaller than those of Dromaeus ater of Kangaroo Island, has felt justified in proposing a name for that bird, and has called it D. minor. Colonel Legge, an old colonist, has also been working on the King Island emeu, and proposed for it a name, which, however, he withdrew in a postscript to his paper in favour of Prof. Spencer's one already published. From memory, having seen a pair in his boyhood, Colonel Legge considers the Tasmanian emeu a distinct small species.

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