Herodotus Returns


How did iguanas get to the Pacific Islands?
January 12, 2010, 8:52 am
Filed under: Iguanas | Tags:

Scientists have long puzzled over how iguanas, a group of lizards mostly found in the Americas, came to inhabit the isolated Pacific islands of Fiji and Tonga. For years, the leading explanation has been that progenitors of the island species must have rafted there, riding across the Pacific on a mat of vegetation or floating debris. But new research in the January issue of The American Naturalist suggests a more grounded explanation…

So Noonan and Sites tested the possibility that iguanas simply walked to the islands millions of years ago, before the islands broke off from Gondwana — the ancient supercontinent made up of present-day Africa, Australia, Antarctica and parts of Asia. If that’s the case, the island species would need to be old — very old. Using “molecular clock” analysis of living iguana DNA, Noonan and Sites found that, sure enough, the island lineages have been around for more than 60 million years — easily old enough to have been in the area when the islands were still connected via land bridges to Asia or Australia.

More on the iguana migration research.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: