Nature & Environment
'Bird from Atlantis' mystery finally solved
By T.K. Randall
November 5, 2018 · 20 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
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