How This Extinct Bird Made Its Amazing Comeback

Evolution works in mysterious ways

Aldabra rail. (GettyImages)
Aldabra rail. (GettyImages)
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Watch the birdie, namely the Aldabra rail. This flightless species went extinct about 136,000 years ago but scientists say fossil evidence shows that it has re-evolved back into existence and settled once again into its homeland, reports CBS News. And it’s not the first time this species has made such an amazing return.

That’s the finding of a new study published this week in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, in which investigators analyzed sediments from the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean. Researchers found that the island has been completely submerged on various occasions, which wiped out all inhabitants. Every species on the isle went extinct, but the Aldabra rail has “returned, again and again,” reports CBS.

Scientists calls this rare live-and-let-die-out and-live-again process iterative evolution, which means that a species can re-emerge over and over, in spite of past periods of going extinct. “We know of no other example in rails, or of birds in general, that demonstrates this phenomenon so evidently,” said co-author David Martill, a paleobiologist at the University of Portsmouth in England.

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