Animals evolve into new peculiar species when they are left secluded on islands. A research team consisting of mammalogists lately found four mice species to have evolved from the same ancestor on the Mindoro Island situated at the Philippines. The Mindoro Island has been noted as the smallest island to have seen a mammal branch into several more. The discovery would prove to be of much help to the conservationists who are worried that change in climate and loss in habitat would trigger the process of extinction.
In order to perform the study, the team of researchers went in search of islands whose secluded locations proved to be a good laboratory. An Evolutionary Biogeographer at the Field Museum of Natural History at Chicago in Illinois, Lawrence Heaney conducted different studies on Luzon, the largest island in Philippines for years to catalog the mammal diversity there. He reportedly found its “105,000 square kilometers” to be hosting near about sixty-six species of mammals. He believed smaller islands to be sheltering distinct species and that belief got him and his team to the Mindoro island in Philippines.
Lawrence Heaney said that the most amazing thing regarding or planet is that there tend to exist numerous species here. He said that the Earth houses a huge biodiversity and that it should not be taken for granted. Heaney, who is the co-author of the latest study in the Journal of Biogeography, said that the study published shows that there is actually no limit to “how small an island can be for species diversification to occur, and it’s the only one looking at it in mammals.” He added that the Mindoro is till now the smallest island to have shown the fact.
Further, Heaney said that the mice which the analyzed in their research are the constituents of the “earthworm mouse,” scientifically termed as Apomys. These creatures reportedly love to feed on earthworms, but also consume fruits and seeds. They are generally spotted with large ears, large dark eyes, white feet, soft long fur, and dark tails.
Upon analyzing the DNA of the earthworm mice of Mindoro, the team of researchers discovered the mice to be belonging to 4 different species, 3 of them being new in the field of science. Heaney said that all the four of them are evolutions of the Mindoro from one common ancestor.
The first co-author of the study, Chris Kyriazis, who led the analysis of DNA at the Pritzker DNA Lab in the Field Museum, said that not only the discovered mice evolved from one common colonist of Mindoro, but even the creatures are so distinctive that they can be considered as different species.