Sci-tech

New 'Big Bird' species discovered in Galapagos Islands

New 'Big Bird' species discovered in Galapagos Islands

Due to their difference in size and song from the other species, they had no other choice but to reproduce among themselves, thus creating the "Big Bird" species line. It was larger and built differently than the few bird species native to the island, and it also sounded different. These new unnamed birds were called simply Big Birds because they were larger than the native species.

Nearly 40 years ago, a graduate student working with the researchers noticed a male bird that was much larger in body and beak size than the species that were known natives on Daphne Major.

Ironically, the discovery was published on the eve of the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's magnum opus titled "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life", which was released in 1859 and largely inspired by his time on the Galapagos Islands.

Researchers have generally assumed that this process could have take thousands of years, but as a result of the unique circumstances on Daphne Major, it happened in just two generations.

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"The novelty of this study is that we can follow the emergence of new species in the wild", said B. Rosemary Grant, a senior research biologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton.

Princeton University scientists B.

The researchers involved in this study have noted that such remarkable and fast evolution was made possible by reproductive isolation, which is a critical step in the creation of a new species from interbreeding of two separate species.

A new species of finch has evolved on the Galapagos Islands, the archipelago that was central to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. His species was from Española island.

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This exceptional distance indicated that male finch was unable to travel back home to mate with a member of his own species so it had to mate with the three species on Daphne Major.

The offspring were also reproductively isolated because their song, which is used to attract mates, was unusual and failed to attract females from the resident species.

The assumption that it takes hundreds of generations to create a new species is now debatable, as the ongoing study of the Big Birds has revealed that it takes as little as three generations for an entirely new species to develop.

"We have no indication about the long-term survival of the Big Bird lineage, but it has the potential to become a success, and it provides a lovely example of one way in which speciation occurs", said Leif Andersson, a professor at Uppsala University.

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