Study reveals how tiny flightless birds ended up in Inaccessible Island
For almost 100 years, researchers have been baffled as to how tiny, flightless birds made their way to an isolated island.
The researchers of a new study now know how the birds got to the island and successfully colonized it.
Inaccessible Island rails are the world’s smallest flightless birds, weighing in at just about 34 to 49 grams. But apart from the birds’ size and striking features, what’s even more incredible about the tiny birds is that they live on an island aptly named Inaccessible Island, an isolated island in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean.
It was in 1923 when British physician Percy Lowe of the British Museum first described the Inaccessible Island rail and gave it a separate Atlantisia genus, after the mythical island of Atlantis. Back then, he believed that the birds got to the island by walking to it via a foot bridge that had previously linked the island to Africa or South America.
However, the real story of how the Inaccessible Island rails got to the island remained a mystery for nearly a hundred years.