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Evolution revives bird on one of islands

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21.05.2019

The white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri in Latin)of aldabranus subspecies is specific to the Aldabra atoll located in the vicinity of Seychelles.It had gone entirely extinct but was reborn there thanks to evolution.

After the bird made its second appearance on the island, it has been inhabiting it up to this day.Recently discovered fossils document the mechanism of so-called "iterative evolution", being a really rare phenomenon.

The white-throated rail managed to get through to the Aldabra toll in the Seychelles area from Madagascar by air and colonised it about 136-246 thousand years ago.Excellent access to food and the lack of natural predators made the white-throated rail living on the island totally lose its ability to fly in the course of evolution. The new subspecies of aldabranus came into being.Unfortunately, the island was affected by a catastrophic flood that led to the extinction of all beings inhabiting it, including the entire population of these flightless birds.

Despite the tragedy, birds still live there ? but how on earth did it happen?Scientists discovered fossils providing evidence to that when the water level fell in the atoll, the specimens of Dryolimnas cuvieri from Madagascar flew to the Aldabra toll again, while evolution created the aldabranus subspecies there for the second time. The local rails have become flightless once again and colonised the island anew.

Thanks to iterative evolution, two nearly identical species evolved from the same ancestor at different times, due to which Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranus could be reborn after having gone entirely extinct.

Source: Sciencemag

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