Co-Evolution of Galápagos Mockingbirds and Their Parasites
Along with the famous finches the Galápagos mockingbirds had a great influence on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Now, 176 years later, three of the four mockingbird species are among the rarest birds in the world. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology untangles the evolutionary relationships between Galápagos mockingbirds and provides information about their parasites to help ensure the birds survival.
Researchers from the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, the Natural History Museum London, and the University of Zurich in Switzerland used three parasites specific to the mockingbirds to reveal their coevolutionary history.
Jan Štefka, lead author of the research, said, "Combining DNA data from several organisms that share their history, improves our confidence in the evolutionary patterns we see. In this case the host specific parasites reveal more about the recent evolution of the mockingbirds than the bird data in isolation."
Source: Science Daily