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must be ratified by future morphologic and genetic studies of the fossils found in Ponta de So Loureno, as there are no historical references so far about the Vikings traveling to Macaronesia".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:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
(Date:1/28/2016)... 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading ... second quarter ended December 31, 2015. --> ... fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last ... fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... --  Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ) today announced the ... Airport, New York City , to help ... enter the United States using passports that ... testing of the system at Dulles last year. The system ... January 2016. --> pilot testing of the system ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, has ... The new facility will provide advanced protocols and state-of-the-art techniques in cellular medicine, ... , The new GSCG clinic is headed by four prominent Ecuadorian physicians, including ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... WASHINGTON , February 10, 2016 Early-career ... , Peru , Uganda ... their life-enhancing work in health and nutrition   Indonesia ... Uganda and Yemen are ... sciences and epidemiology. They are also celebrated for mentoring young women scientists ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... LOUISVILLE, Ky. , Feb. 10, 2016 ... company utilizing its proprietary NeXosome® technology for early ... presentation of its most recent study by Dr. ... Hospital at the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine,s (SMFM) ... , GA, February 1-6 th , 2016.  The presentation ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... today announced that it has joined the Human Vaccines Project, a public-private ... diseases and cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project brings together leading ...
Breaking Biology Technology: