The mystery of the 'bird of Atlantis', resolved
There is a bird that lives on an island in the South Atlantic. Up to here nothing out of the ordinary. But what if we told you that for a while it was thought that this little animal came from the legendary Atlantis ? Recently, a group of biologists has managed to solve the mystery of the bird of Atlantis.
The origin of the mystery
It all begins on a piece of land in the middle of the South Atlantic. An extinct volcano of 14 square kilometers acts as an island. Its location is such that it is known as Inaccessible Island. The nearest inhabited territory is the island of Tristán de Acuña, about 45 kilometers.
Evidently, given its geographical location, the Inaccessible Island has no permanent human population. , has a varied flora and fauna. We can find the wandering albatross ( Diomedea exulans ) or the thrush of Tristan da Cunha ( Turdus eremita i>).
But there is an illustrious and mysterious inhabitant: the bird of Atlantis ( Atlantisia rogersi ). This bird has been a puzzle for biologists and naturalists for years. Now, and thanks to biologists from the University of Lund (Sweden), the mystery has finally been solved.
Who is the bird of Atlantis?
First of all, we must know that we are talking about the smallest non-flying bird in the world . The rasconcillo measures about 17 centimeters and has an average weight of 30 grams. Its plumage is brown, and it has a dark, pointed beak, and intense red eyes.
This bird is endemic to Inaccessible Island and, having no natural predators, leads a prosperous and tranquil life on the island. It was sighted for the first time around 1923, thanks to the ornithologist Percy Roycroft Lowe. Being such a rare specimen, Lowe decided to classify it within a new genus of birds: the genre Atlantisia was born. And this name is not coincidence.
Lowe's theory was this: being a bird unable to fly, his arrival on the island had to be through the mainland. This animal crossed great extensions of earth that later would be buried in the oceanic depths.
From this last it is deduced that Lowe baptized this bird in memory of the Atlantis, the lost continent. But the scientific advances of recent years have been able to show that Lowe was not right.
A group of researchers from the University of Lund has come up with the key: 1.5 million years ago, the ancestors of the bird of Atlantis flew from South America to Inaccessible Island.
How do you know this? Well, using modern DNA sequencing techniques, researchers say that living relatives closest to the rasconcillo inhabit South America, can fly and are colonizers of remote areas.