Nautilus

What an Extinct Bird Re-Evolving Says About “Species”

How could the same species evolve more than once?Photograph by Janos Rautonen / Flickr

ou may have heard the news of what sounds like a resurrection story on the small island of Aldabra, off the coast of Madagascar. Around 136,000 years ago, the island was submerged in water and a layer of limestone captured the rails—a species of flightless bird—living there. The birds (and all other land species living on the island) went . Recently, though, that the bones of these fossilized rails are virtually indistinguishable from rails living on the island today. They are calling this an instance of—where the same species evolves , distinct times.

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