donderdag 24 april 2014

An Extinct Giant Swan

A reflection on islands animals

Islands can do strange things to animals: large ones shrink (insular dwarfism) while little ones suddenly grow (insular gigantism). There are numerous examples of both phenomena, but I came across a case that interests me more because it relates to my study subject: waterfowl. 

On Sicily and Malta there lived a giant swan, known as Cygnus falconeri, with a total length (bill to tail) of more than two meters and a wing span over three meters. The nice thing is that is lived next to dwarf elephants. Imagine that, a giant swan accompanied by a dwarf elephant. How things have changed...


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