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Humans helped vultures colonize the Canary Islands
BioMed Central ^ | December 12, 2010 | Unknown

Posted on 12/12/2010 6:29:46 PM PST by decimon

The Egyptian vulture population of the Canary Islands was established following the arrival of the first human settlers who brought livestock to the islands. A genetic comparison of Iberian and Canarian birds, published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, found that the Egyptian vulture population in the Canary Islands was likely established around 2500 years ago – around the same time as humans began to colonise the islands.

Rosa Agudo worked with a team of researchers from the Doñana Biological Station, Seville, Spain, to investigate genetic and morphological changes between 143 Iberian birds and 242 from Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands. She said, "We found that the island vultures are significantly heavier and larger than those from Iberia. The establishment of this insular population took place some 2500 years ago, matching the date of human colonization. Our results suggest that human activity can trigger divergent evolution and that this process may take place on a relatively brief time scale".

The authors suggest that before the arrival of humans, the Canary Islands would not have been able to support vultures, as food resources would have been scarce, consisting only of the remains of seabirds and sea mammals, or of rodents. They say, "The introduction of new and abundant food sources by humans could have allowed not only colonization by vultures, but also their demographic expansion and their putative adaptation to the new island environment". For once, human activity has actually assisted in the diversification and adaptation of the Egyptian vulture, now globally threatened and classified as 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: canaryislands; godsgravesglyphs; guanches; islandofdogs; navigation

1 posted on 12/12/2010 6:29:49 PM PST by decimon
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To: SunkenCiv

Once upon a time ping.

I guess that similar may have occurred many times in many places.


2 posted on 12/12/2010 6:31:14 PM PST by decimon
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To: decimon

I’m getting bored. And more bored. And Zzzzzzzzzzz.


3 posted on 12/12/2010 6:36:17 PM PST by at bay (My father was born with 28 ounces of flesh in 1924 then went on to become Mr. (Glenn) Holland.)
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To: decimon
I was thinking the other day about the sometimes positive effects of human activity for some species. I did a web search and found tons of articles on the negative impact but little on the positive. For example old style farms with rotating crops, composting and hedgerows provided a better environment for many plants and animals. There are birds, animals, butterflies and plants that generally found in greater abundance around light human habitation. Thanks for the post it fit in nicely with some of my recent thinking.
4 posted on 12/12/2010 6:42:27 PM PST by dog breath
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To: dog breath

The old timers tell me that there used to be a lot fewer deer here in southern michigan. Big farms and widlife management has caused their numbers to explode.


5 posted on 12/12/2010 6:46:46 PM PST by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: decimon
The vultures finally migrated to the North American mainland and bred with coastal swamp apes, resulting in the modern-day hybrid Pelosiraptor tyrannicus.
6 posted on 12/12/2010 7:17:18 PM PST by rfp1234 (Badgers? We don't need no stinkin' badgers!)
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To: decimon; martin_fierro; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

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Thanks decimon.
A genetic comparison of Iberian and Canarian birds, published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, found that the Egyptian vulture population in the Canary Islands was likely established around 2500 years ago – around the same time as humans began to colonise the islands.
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

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7 posted on 12/12/2010 7:45:11 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv; decimon
Something You Didn't Know About Cajuns (Ilenos, Canary Islands)
8 posted on 12/12/2010 7:55:41 PM PST by blam
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To: rfp1234; decimon
The vultures finally migrated to the North American mainland and bred with coastal swamp apes, resulting in the modern-day hybrid Pelosiraptor tyrannicus.

ferinstance.

9 posted on 12/12/2010 8:06:12 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: at bay
I’m getting bored. And more bored. And Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Did you mean:

"I'm yawning. I'm yawning some more. Zzzzzzzz"?

10 posted on 12/13/2010 6:07:06 AM PST by null and void (We are now in day 691 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: decimon

Unanswered is the question of whether they were introduced deliberately, perhaps as a religious totem or as a means of keeping dead animals cleaned up, or were colonized by the vultures themselves.


11 posted on 12/13/2010 6:38:31 AM PST by null and void (We are now in day 691 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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