Humans helped vulture population flourish in Canary IslandsDecember 13th, 2010 - 1:04 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Dec 13 (ANI): A new study has found that the Egyptian vulture population of the Canary Islands flourished around the same time as humans began to colonise the islands.
“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,” said Rosa Agudo from the Donana Biological Station, Seville, Spain.
“Our results suggest that human activity can trigger divergent evolution and that this process may take place on a relatively brief time scale,” she added.
She added that prior to the arrival of humans, the 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.
“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.”
The study is published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. (ANI)
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Tags: abundant food, adaptation, biological station, bmc evolutionary biology, canary islands, divergent evolution, egyptian vulture, flourish, food resources, food sources, human colonization, iberia, island environment, open access, rodents, sea mammals, seabirds, seville spain, time scale, vultures