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

e 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".


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

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