Astonishingly, scientists observed, the new finch was established in just two generations, challenging the previous assumption that it takes hundreds of generations for a fresh species to evolve.
Around 36 years ago, a odd bird arrived on one of the Galapagos islands.
Princeton University scientists B.
Because of the distance, the male finch was not able to return home and so chose a mate from one of the three species native to Daphne Major.
"We didnt see him fly in from over the sea, but we noticed him shortly after he arrived". The research team followed the new species for six generations, taking blood samples for genetic analysis.
And what makes this discovery even more interesting is that it was published on the eve of the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's magnum opus titled "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life", which was released in 1859 and largely inspired by his time on the Galapagos Islands. Throughout our work on Daphne Major, we were in a position to discern the match up of two birds from varied species and then pursue to observe how speciation occurred.
Blood and DNA samples enabled researchers to discover that the unusual new bird was actually a large cactus finch of the species Geospiza conirostris from Española island, more than 100 km (62.14 miles) away from Daphne Major.
A Darwin's finch immigrated to an island in the Galapagos archipelago and began a new line of finch species with the local finch.
This is a remarkable observation which is demonstrated by the fact that native females do not recognize the mating calls of the new species, which is a form of behavioral isolation, meaning that the two species can no longer breed and are distinct.
However, when these Big Birds reached maturity they couldn't find mates because they couldn't repeat the song of the native finches; they were also different in size and that prevented them from attracting partners. The Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean is such a remote area that it is the ideal place to study evolution, biodiversity and natural selection.
It was later discovered that the original "lost" male was a cactus finch that had originated from a neighboring island over 60 miles away called Espanola, Sciencemag.org reported. His species was from Española island.
"The novelty of this study is that we can follow the emergence of new species in the wild", said B. Rosemary Grant, a senior research biologist, emeritus, and a senior biologist in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.