Today’s post, which is on the evolution of the hummingbird, makes me think of my mom because I am absolutely certain that she would have enjoyed this subject and I hope you will as well. In my mind’s eye, I can vividly imagine the two of us watching a show on the subject of hummingbird evolution on one of the various cable channels and then talking about all that we had just viewed.
The information contained in this post comes from Wikipedia. I have been quite curious about all things relating to hummingbirds for several years now, so I find this subject to be quite interesting myself and I hope you will also.
The evolutionary history is actually quite difficult to accurately document, due to the fact that the bones of the hummingbird are hollow and quite fragile which makes fossilization of the bones extremely difficult. Scientist have theorized many things though. They believe that the hummingbird originated in South America, because this is where there is the greatest amount of diversity among the various species of hummingbirds. Also, scientist believe that possible ancestors of hummingbird species still in existence today may have lived in Europe all the way to what is today known as southern Russia.
In 2004, two 30-million year old hummingbird fossils were identified by Dr. Gerald Mayr, who had his results published in Nature. The remains had been in a drawer of a musemum in Stuttgart, Germany and no one knew what they were until Dr. Mayr took a look at them. The reason no one had identified them properly is because people assumed that hummingbirds never occurred outside the Americas. While hummingbirds may only be found in the Americas today, apparently this was not always the case.
Hummingbirds are such truly fascinating creatures and they never cease to amaze me. Discovering a bit about the hummingbird’s evolutionary history has been no different. I hope you have also enjoyed making this discovery as well. Are you, like me, amazed to discover that two hummingbird fossils are known to be 30-million years old?