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'Bird from Atlantis' mystery finally solved


Posted on Monday, 5 November, 2018 | Comment icon 22 comments

How did this flightless bird end up on a remote island ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Brian Gratwicke
The origin of a flightless bird found only on a remote island in the Atlantic has puzzled scientists for years.
Discovered on the appropriately named Inaccessible Island in the South Atlantic, the species, which was named Atlantisia rogersi, has long represented something of a conundrum for researchers - how did a flightless bird which exists nowhere else on Earth end up on an island in the middle of nowhere ?

Ornithologist Percy Lowe, who described the bird 100 years ago, put forward the notion that the species had been flightless for a very long time and that it had managed to reach the island by crossing several land extensions that had since disappeared under the sea.

Now though, a new study led by scientists at Lund University in Sweden has determined that the ancestors of Atlantisia rogersi likely flew to the island from South America 1.5 million years ago.

The bird would have later lost its ability to fly because it would have no longer needed it.

"The bird has not had any natural enemies on the island and has not needed to fly in order to escape predators," said biologist Martin Stervander.

"Its ability to fly has therefore been reduced and ultimately lost through natural selection and evolution over thousands of years."

Source: Science Daily | Comments (22)

Tags: Inaccessible Island, Bird

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by DirtyDocMartens on 5 November, 2018, 23:51
A great big "Duh" on this article. Sounds like a grad project to me.
Comment icon #14 Posted by DieChecker on 6 November, 2018, 20:33
I believe the article says they determined 1.5 million years by doing a DNA analysis and finding it's nearest living relative and then extrapolating how long such a change would have taken. This is done all the time to determine how closely animal species are related. From the linked article:  
Comment icon #15 Posted by Trenix on 7 November, 2018, 1:51
You sure a fish didn't evolve into a bird then into an insect, then a bird, and then just forgot to fly because it's trying to be a fish again? I mean apparently evolution suggests fish became land animals then went back to the water and became whales. Evolution is such a joke, lol.
Comment icon #16 Posted by ShadowSot on 7 November, 2018, 2:04
It's a bit more complicated than that, actually. Not even a terribly good strawman, for that matter. 
Comment icon #17 Posted by Trenix on 7 November, 2018, 2:11
It's as complicated as believing in the existence of God. Strawman argument? It wasn't even my own, but literally from the Smithsonian museum of natural history. Bursted out laughing when I read it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by ShadowSot on 7 November, 2018, 2:47
First, evolution isn't directly opposed to religion. Most Christians these days follow it, after all, these days.  Second, if you mean that fish developed into land animals, then yes. This has both genetic and Fossil support.   Your initial statement, however, shows at best poor comprehension or delighted ignorance. 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Carnoferox on 7 November, 2018, 3:06
Of course that's a joke, because that doesn't even come close to describing evolution.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Trenix on 9 November, 2018, 0:14
I believe in some aspects of evolution, but not most. Also there is not any scientific evidence of evolution from a fish to a land animal, that's a complete lie. Prove it, outside of just a concept. At some point, all of us had to be created. If you want me to believe some organism was created in a pool of water by heat and whatnot, then I'll continue to laugh. The concept of a universe being created, an earth, evolution, and possibility of mankind simply requires a miracle. Meaning, you cannot explain it by science therefore science should take no part in it. Adaptation for example, I agree w... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by ShadowSot on 9 November, 2018, 1:19
I look forward to your scientific paper, explaining Fossil finds like tiktaalik, which shows gills and rudimentary air breathing and legs, as well as other fossils.   Frankly, you are woefully uninformed about it, which I request you take the time to study.   As for humans, we are a recent development, and have no existed long enough for selection pressure, which are absent in any case, to push us towards aquatic adaption.   All you have given as an argument is incredulity. Being incredulous only shows your own ignorance. 
Comment icon #22 Posted by Trenix on 9 November, 2018, 16:27
There are several fish that go on land. I'm assuming you believe they will eventually evolve to live on land. This doesn't explain anything.


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