Scientists have observed an amazing evolution in the wild for the first time when they saw a new bird species evolve within just two generations. Genomic sequencing and the analysis of physical characteristics have now established that there is a new species of Darwin’s finch, which is prevalent in the small island called Daphne Major in the Galapagos. The people who discovered the new species nicknamed it the Big Bird.
The over 15 species of Darwin Finches that were named by the legendary Charles Darwin helped the naturalist understand the theory of evolution by natural selection, which concluded that when mutations occur, they help a particular species adapt well to its habitat and pass down the adaptations to subsequent generations.
Princeton University biologists Peter and B. Rosemary Grant discovered the non-native interloper called Geospiza conirostris or the large cactus finch while on an expedition on the Daphne Major Island. This species is native to other islands such as Española, Genovesa, Darwin, and Wolf that are also on the Galapagos.
They noticed that the bird-a male-didn’t hatch from an egg on the Daphne Major Island because it stood out from the other birds. It mated with two native females and the mating produced an offspring. In fact, mating between different species has happened in the past and resulted in the production of an offspring – famous examples include the mating between a male donkey and a female horse to produce a mule and that of a male lion and female tiger to produce a liger.