Aldabra rail

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The flightless Aldabra rail went extinct over 130,000 years ago, but the species then reappeared via iterative evolution.

About Aldabra rail:

  • Scientific name: Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranus
  • It lives on a coral atoll off the southeast coast of Africa.
  • Appearance: It's about the size of a chicken, with a flecked gray back, a rusty red head and chest and a white throat.
  • It is a subspecies of the white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri) and is the only living flightless bird in the Indian Ocean.
  • In losing its ability to fly once again, the Aldabra rail has essentially evolved twice, rising from the dead through a process called iterative evolution.
  • A 2019 study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society examined the fossil record of rails in Aldabra and found evidence of a flightless rail on the atoll from before it was submerged beneath the waves 136,000 years ago. 

What is Iterative evolution?

Iterative evolution can be defined as "the repeated evolution of a specific trait or body plan from the same ancestral lineage at different points in time.

Q1: What is an atoll ?

It is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. An atoll surrounds a body of water called a lagoon. Sometimes, atolls and lagoons protect a central island. Channels between islets connect a lagoon to the open ocean or sea.

Source:Aldabra rail: The bird that came back from the dead by evolving twice