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Ecology and the Evolution of Some Hawaiian Birds

Dean Amadon
Evolution
Vol. 1, No. 1/2 (Mar. - Jun., 1947), pp. 63-68
DOI: 10.2307/2405404
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2405404
Page Count: 6
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Ecology and the Evolution of Some Hawaiian Birds
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Abstract

The Hawaiian honey-creepers (Drepaniidae) are an excellent example of rapid adaptive radiation occurring in recent geological periods in a favorable environment having many vacant ecological niches. In the genus Hemignathus three species, one of them intermediate and apparently ill adapted, represent stages in a rapid ecological shift in habits and correlated morphological structures of the type Simpson has called quantum evolution. Such evolution, though important, occurs rarely or locally and is comparatively rapid, so that direct evidence, fossil or recent, is scanty. Hemignathus provides perhaps the only known comtemporary example among birds and even here some of the species involved are extinct. Simpler examples of divergence in the Hawaiian genera Phaeornis and Loxops suggest that much of the impetus for such change comes from competition between similar species. I am indebted to Drs. Ernst Mayr, John A. Moore and Bobb Schaeffer for valuable suggestions.

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