Earlier this year, a bird, suggested to be a Horned Lark, was discovered in Siberia. Not too interesting? What if we told you it was over 45,000 years old? It’s true! Continue reading to learn more about this fascinating and educational discovery that dates back to the ice age.
Siberian Lark is 46,000 Years Old
Local fossil ivory hunters found the frozen bird near the village of Belaya Gora in north-eastern Siberia. They later handed it over to a team of experts for testing and research. This team included Love Dalén and Nicolas Dussex from the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
The remains of the bird were astonishingly well-preserved, allowing scientists to study it in depth. According to a paper published in the journal Communications Biology, radiocarbon dating and genetic analysis confirmed that the fossilized bird was a Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) that lived around 46,000 years ago!
Today, there are two different species of Lark, one of which is native to northern parts of Russia, and the other found primarily in the Mongolian steppe. Both modern-day species are thought to be descendants of this ice age Horned Lark. In fact, Dalén stated, “This finding implies that the climatic changes that took place at the end of the last Ice Age led to formation of new subspecies.”
Dalén, Dussex, and the rest of the team at the Swedish Museum of Natural History look forward to the next phase of research, which is sequencing the bird’s entire genome; data that can help explain more about estimating the rate of evolutionary change in larks and other modern-day subspecies.
In reference to the various other ice age specimens found in the same area that they are studying, Dussex explains, “This in turn will open new opportunities to study the evolution of ice age fauna and understand their responses to climate change over the past 50 to 10 thousands of years ago.” Read the full article at CNN.com.
But Don’t Wait Until Birds Get This Old in Your House!
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