Art. XLII.—On the Footprint of a Kiwi-like Bird from Manaroa.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury; 2nd November, 1898.]
The specimen which I exhibit was found by H. Wynn Williams, Esq., in a creek near his house at Manaroa, Pelorus Sound, and was by him presented to the Canterbury Museum last month. The rock is a pale-grey, hard, argillaceous sandstone, without any appreciable amount of carbonate of lime. It is jointed, and with iron-oxide coating the sides of the joints. It reminds me of the sandstones of the Waitemata series at Auckland, and is, apparently, of Miocene or Eocene age.
The impression is the left foot of a bird, and is sharply marked, but the surface of the stone has been somewhat, abraded, and the impression of the distal portion of the inner toe has almost disappeared. There is a mark behind the foot which looks like the impression of the claw of a hind toe, but I do not think that it is so. If such were the case, the impression must have been made by a straight claw, about 1 in. long, lying flat on the surface, while the rest of the toe must have been elevated, for there is no impression joining the supposed claw to the foot. The distance thus unmarked is about ½ in., and is too short for the hind toe of Notornis, or an allied form; while in birds with the hind toe elevated and short the claw is short and curved, and would only make a circular impression on the ground. Also, this impression in the stone is of a different character to the others, and has, I think, been made later. There is ho appearance of any interdigital membrane.
The following are the dimensions: Length from heel to end of the claw of the middle toe, 98 mm.; to end of inner toe, 90 mm.; to end of outer toe, 93 mm.; spread, from claw; of outer to that of inner toe, 112 mm.; breadth of the impression of the middle toe, 13 mm.; depth of the impression at the heel, 8 mm.
The impression is much smaller and more slender than the footprints that any known moa would have made, and the base of the foot is too broad for any species of Ocydromus or allied form; but, so far as size and shape goes, it might have been made by a large specimen of Apteryx australis.
The figure (on Plate XLV.) is from a photograph by Mr. W. Sparkes, and is rather less than the natural size.