Extinct New Bird Species In Galapagos Islands Discovered

First Posted: Aug 24, 2016 03:55 AM EDT

The first modern-day extinction of bird species in the Galapagos Islands has been recorded by researchers as they study specimens at the California Academy of Sciences. The Galapagos Islands is renowned for Charles Darwin's voyage on the Beagle, inspiring people with his fabled description of the islands describing its amazing wildlife diversity. The islands are well scattered in the Pacific Ocean and has been an interesting source of discoveries on nature and animals.

A new study made the island even more abundant with treasures and historical facts since researchers added a beautiful bird to the list of animals at home to the islands - the San Cristobal Island Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus dubius). Unfortunately, the bird is now extinct.

The bird is the first known of the modern days to be extinct in the bird species on the Galapagos Islands. The creature was last seen alive 1987 and was only recently discovered when researchers were studying the historical collections at the California Academy of Sciences, based on the report by Live Science. The team initially planned to study the subspecies of Vermilion Flycatchers when they found out that San Cristobal bird has a genetically distinct characteristic from the previous.

In their study, they revealed the previously known two subspecies were, in fact, two species named Pyrocephalus nanus and Pyrocephalus dubius"A species of bird that may be extinct in the Galapagos is a big deal," according to Jack Dumbacher, a co-author of the study. "This marks an important landmark for conservation in the Galapagos, and a call to arms to understand why these birds have declined."

Researchers still fail to know why the birds went extinct but they suspected two invasive species to impact the extinction of the poor flycatcher. Previous studies found the evidence of foreign rats introduced to the islands which feast on the birds' eggs. The other invasive species is the larvae of a parasitic fly that feed on growing nestlings leaving only a few birds to mature and multiply.

Some people think it was great the bird was discovered bringing its memories back. "Wouldn't it be great if the San Cristobal Vermilion Flycatcher weren't extinct? No one is looking, I'm pretty sure of that," commented another co-author Alvaro Jaramillo as reported in IFL Science. "At the very least, this discovery should motivate people to survey and see if there are any remaining individuals of the species hanging on that we don't know about."

Unfortunately, there is no recorded evidence of the flycatcher over the past two decades, or maybe people simply fail to look deeper into the islands. The study was published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

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