Navigation Links
Man landing on Madeira could be 4 centuries prior to its colonization by the Portuguese
Date:4/29/2014

According to the results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal, house mice may have landed on the island before 1036, most likely transported by a ship. The article suggests that the introduction of this species would result in an ecological disaster.

Until now, the arrival of the man to Macaronesia was documented in two waves: one being aboriginal, limited to the Canary Islands about two millenniums ago; and the other colonial, from the 14th century onwards, which took place in every island of the archipelago. According to historical data, the Portuguese took official possession of Madeira in 1949, when the colonization was started.

The team of researchers, which is also composed of scientists from Germany and the University of La Laguna (Canary Islands, Spain), has analyzed two samples of bones found in Ponta de So Loureno. The tiny size of the first sample has made impossible to date it, but the second sample has been dated between 900 and 1030, which leads to the earliest evidence for the presence of mice on Madeira Island.

Josep Antoni Alcover, CSIC researcher at the Mediterranean Institute for Advances Studies (a joint center of CSIC and UIB-University of the Balearic Islands), explains: "Current populations of house mice on Madeira show similarities in mitochondrial DNA with those in Scandinavia and northern Germany, but not with those in Portugal. Therefore, this second analyzed sample suggests that it was the Vikings who took the house mice to the island. However, this conclusion must be ratified by future morphologic and genetic studies of the fossils found in Ponta de So Loureno, as there are no historical references so far about the Vikings traveling to Macaronesia".

Ecological impact on the island

Besides modifying historical data, the new dating extends the time frame in which the most significant ecological changes occurred on the island. According to the researchers, the arrival of the man would have triggered the extinction of several endemic species of birds on the archipelago of Madeira (composed of Madeira and Porto Santo) Once mice population (which barely differs from current house mice) was settled, it would have reached a high density because of their reproductive potential and the absence of rats. Their predatory activity would be focused on eggs and chicks of small and medium birds, such as quails or water rails. The bones obtained from the Holocene sites show that at least two thirds of the endemic birds and two non-endemic species became extinct. They would also have played a significant role in enabling the prosperity of other predators such as owls.

CSIC researcher highlights: "The introduction of mice probably resulted in an ecological catastrophe based on the extinction of endemic species and on the modification of the island ecology four hundred years earlier than thought so far".


'/>"/>

Contact: Marta García Gonzalo
marta.garcia@csic.es
34-915-681-476
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Heart-powered pacemaker could one day eliminate battery-replacement surgery
2. New test could help track down and prosecute terrorists
3. New antibiotic could make food safer and cows healthier
4. BPA could affect reproductive capabilities, cause infection of the uterus
5. Key to immune system disease could lie inside the cheek
6. New analysis of premature infants heartbeats, breathing could be cues for leaving NICU
7. Tiny electrical sensors could signal faster MRSA diagnosis
8. Corals could survive a more acidic ocean
9. Early warning system for seizures could cut false alarms
10. Rapid method of assembling new gene-editing tool could revolutionize genetic research
11. 800-year-old farmers could teach us how to protect the Amazon
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/26/2017)... DALLAS , Feb. 25, 2017  Securus ... justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections ... of Recidivism and Reentry. "Too often, ... State prisons and county jails are trying to ... of inmates and friends and family members. While significant ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... , Feb. 22, 2017 With ... 2021, ABI Research identifies four technologies that innovative ... to secure significant share in the changing competitive ... and passive authentication.   "Companies can ... comes to security," says Dimitrios Pavlakis , ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... , February 21, 2017 Der ... US-Dollar wachsen. Nach einem Gespräch mit mehr als 50 Vertretern ... Hindernisse zu überwinden gilt, um diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... ... die Mobilisierung der finanziellen Mittel für die Biobank, die ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Bactana Animal Health, a company developing natural ... supply through enhancement of the gut microbiota, today announced the closing of its first ... New York-based Sustainable Income Capital Management, LLC and a number of private investors. The ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -  GeneNews Limited (TSX:GEN) ("GeneNews" ... , a new risk stratification test for breast cancer, via ... Diagnostics Laboratory ("IDL"). BreastSentry incorporates a blood-based biomarker test with ... risk for developing breast cancer.   ... BreastSentry measures the fasting plasma ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... ... replace paper-based processes and enhance training plan management for consistent implementation of standards ... partner with the SHL Group to help improve and streamline their training and ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... March 28, 2017 , ... Ecovia Renewables, Inc. ... Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Under the award ... a suite of BioGel™ biopolymer materials for hygiene applications, particularly for use in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: