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An Extinct Bird Evolves Back into Existence

An Extinct Bird Evolves Back into Existence 90

Orange is the new black, 50 is the new 40 and “Re-evolved” is the new extinct. At least, that’s the case with the Aldabra white-throated rail – a flightless bird that went extinct 136,000 years ago but has followed the same evolutionary path and reappeared just a little while later. Is there hope for the dodo?

“Aldabra has undergone at least one major, total inundation event during an Upper Pleistocene (Tarantian age) sea-level high-stand, resulting in the loss of all terrestrial fauna. A flightless Dryolimnas has been identified from two temporally separated Aldabran fossil localities, deposited before and after the inundation event, providing irrefutable evidence that a member of Rallidae colonized the atoll, most likely from Madagascar, and became flightless independently on each occasion.”

An Extinct Bird Evolves Back into Existence 91

Aldabra white-throated rail (Credit: Charles J. Sharp – Wikipedia)

According to a new study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, fossils show that the white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri) existed solely on the Aldabra atoll, the world’s second-largest coral atoll. The fossils indicate that it was once capable of flight, which is how it got to the atoll from the Seychelles Islands and Madagascar. Those ancestors eventually evolved out of their need for flight due to a lack of predators. Unfortunately, the one other thing a non-flying, non-swimming bird on an island can’t escape is water. About 136,000 years ago, sea levels began rising during a global warming near the end of the Pleistocene period and caused an “inundation event” – aka ‘flood’ – which drowned the Aldabra white-throated rails into extinction.

Or did it?

Study authors Julian Hume, an avian paleontologist at Natural History Museum in London, and David Martill, a paleobiologist at the University of Portsmouth, found fossil evidence on the island which show that just 20,000 years later, the same evolutionary ancestor – which still existed on the Seychelles Islands and Madagascar – flew to the now dry atoll once again, stayed once again and evolved into the same flightless Aldabra white-throated rail once again. While this phenomenon, called “iterative evolution,” has been seen before in aquatic creatures (sea cows, ammonites and sea turtles), this is the first time for a bird, as Martill explained in the press release:

“We know of no other example in rails, or of birds in general, that demonstrates this phenomenon so evidently. Only on Aldabra, which has the oldest palaeontological record of any oceanic island within the Indian Ocean region, is fossil evidence available that demonstrates the effects of changing sea levels on extinction and recolonisation events. Conditions were such on Aldabra, the most important being the absence of terrestrial predators and competing mammals, that a rail was able to evolve flightlessness independently on each occasion.”

An Extinct Bird Evolves Back into Existence 92

Dodo

Could this be good news for other extinct flightless birds, like the dodo, or extinct birds in general? Unfortunately, it’s not even good news for the Aldabra white-throated rail. That nemesis of flightless birds – flooding – may be returning soon to the atoll courtesy of climate change. If they go extinct again, there’s a possibility that they could iteratively evolve once again since its flighted rail ancestors still exist on other isolated islands. Sadly, that’s no longer the case for the dodo.

A better solution would be to stop eating, hunting, developing and climate-changing other species into extinction before we humans need an “iterative evolution” ourselves.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Planet Earth

Dazzling space view of earth’s aurora: lights and stars competing for glory

Dazzling space view of earth's aurora: lights and stars competing for glory 95
The International Space Station shared beautiful photos of the aurora on the surface provided by NASA.

People may already be in awe when watching the gorgeous aurora from the ground, but the International Space Station (International Space Station) recently shared photos of the aurora taken from space. It is even more more beautiful. A dazzling green light is seen above the vast surface of the ground, which complemented the golden light on the ground and the stars in the distance, like a super large light show.

The International Space Station shared 4 beautiful pictures of aurora over the surface on Twitter on January 24 . These photos are from the web photo album opened by NASA on Flickr.

As you can see from these photos, a very conspicuous green aurora appears between the city lights and the twinkling stars. Among them, the aurora and lights in the upper right photo are the brightest.

That photo was taken when the International Space Station was moving over Romania. The lights in the photo are from cities in Sweden and Finland, and the black area between these two Nordic countries is the Baltic Sea.

Aurora usually appears close to the North and South Pole. Those that appear near the North Pole are called the Northern Lights, and those that appear near the South Pole are called Southern Lights. Aurora can be seen more clearly at night, but they are actually caused by the sun.

NASA explained that when a solar storm comes towards the earth, some energy and tiny particles will drop below the magnetic field lines of the earth’s magnetic field at the north or south pole and enter the earth’s atmosphere.

These particles interact with gas molecules in the upper atmosphere, causing the gas molecules to release photons, which in turn produces beautiful aurora. If these particles touch oxygen, they will emit green and red aurora. If the interaction is nitrogen, the aurora will appear blue and purple.

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Planet Earth

Scientists – It is much colder today than in the last 8,000 years

Scientists - It is much colder today than in the last 8,000 years 96
Ted Scambos / NSIDC

Undisputed temperature reconstructions from around the world show that for much of the Holocene (last 10,000 years), the planet was much warmer than it is today.

Kenneth recently wrote how many new studies of glacier and sea ice sizes show that Iceland is 2-4 ° C colder today than it has been in the past 8,000 years. Only the late 19th century was a little colder.

This post was posted on WUWT and the author provided additional graphics there from other parts of the world showing that the early Holocene was warmer around the world.

First, South America, which shows 100 years ago that it was much warmer from the 1930s to the 1950s than it is today:

Scientists - It is much colder today than in the last 8,000 years 97

Next, we have a 7000-year reconstruction of the Canadian Arctic temperature:

Scientists - It is much colder today than in the last 8,000 years 98

Note that, as many of us already know, the Arctic was much warmer in the early Holocene than it is today.

Finally, let’s take a look at the Swiss Alps, which are 9,000 years old:

Scientists - It is much colder today than in the last 8,000 years 99

Here we see that today it is very cold in the Alps compared to the early Holocene. Old tree trunks found under the glaciers confirm this.

A WUWT reader added that he has “a lot more of this type of graphs, which show very clearly that the whole wolrld has been much warmer for much of the last 10,000 years than it is now.”

And there are really a lot of them!

Medieval warm period, confirmed by hundreds of works

Sebastian Lüning’s remarkable and outstanding Medieval Warm Period reference map, shows hundreds of climatic reconstructions from this period. There we find a lot of research that shows that there is nothing unusual about today’s climate compared to what it was 1000 years ago.

Here are 80 charts from 58 peer-reviewed articles showing the same.

Source

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Planet Earth

Polar vortex: “wild” winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January

Polar vortex: "wild" winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January 100

In the upper atmosphere above the North Pole, experts saw a rapidly swirling vortex of cold air that could bring severe frosts to the United States, Northern Europe and East Asia. Serious cold snap and snowy weather are expected after January the 16th.

Snowfalls and a cold snap hit South Korea since the start of 2021, hitting historic snow maximums and temperatures. In the country, for the first time since 1964, television and newer communications are sending people cold snap warnings:

https://twitter.com/sonyeoljin/status/1346841272347082752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The situation is similar in Japan, where a new snow storm hit historic highs:

On January 7, the thermometer In Beijing dropped to -20 degrees Celsius, breaking the 1966 record. In other regions of China, the temperature is also not sugar, and you can only move around in special uniforms:

The cold even reached Taiwan, where the temperature in some areas dropped below freezing point, snow poured down and people realized that rice terraces can be used as a ski jump:

Even more snow went to Spain, where on January 6, 2021, a temperature of -34.1 ° C was recorded – the lowest on record. After that, a snow storm hit the country, which has not been seen for 80 years:

https://youtu.be/pHU533Krs5M

The same thing happens in Canada and in the northern states of the United States:

It seems that after a stratospheric warming, the subpolar vortex began to split:

The vortex itself is a standard phenomenon. However, this time experts were surprised at his movement. It is possible that in the near future it will be divided into two parts. 

Scientists associate the strange behavior with the changed climate in the Arctic, which has become warmer. From September to December, the amount of ice cover decreased significantly.

The polar vortex is a low-pressure region located in the stratosphere and filled with cold air. When the jet stream of air that holds the vortex weakens, the low pressure area moves south. 

As the ice shrinks, more moisture will move inland. It will turn to snow, so snowfalls are expected. Snow, in turn, reflects heat, leading to a cold snap.

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