Extinct Fossils Remains of Owl Found in Portuguese Islands
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Extinct Fossils Remains of Owl Found in Portuguese Islands

Humankind is often responsible for the extinction of our animal populations. We carelessly hunt our animals into extinction. We encroach upon their habitats with our growing populations, we bring new harsh chemicals and animals into the habitats and we bring new forms of diseases. Archeologists have discovered an extinct scops owl called the Otus Mauli in the Portuguese island of Madeira.

We hear so much about animals that become extinct or are put on the endangered species list; most of the time it is due to human intervention.  Animals are hunted illegally, their habitants are destroyed by the encroachment of human housing units and even the climate and lack of food sources causes their demise. 

This article however, is about the finding of a species of owl thought to be extinct.   Archeologists have found fossil remains of the Otus mauli a scops owl that may have lived on birds and lizards.  It is believed that this owl became extinct because it too lost its habitat due to human populations. The fossil remains were found in Madeira, Portugal two decades ago. 

The archeologists are only now looking deeper into the find.  This owl had shorter wings than the average European owl. Many species went extinct due to the same reasons across these European islands.  After the Portuguese arrived on Madeira, it is noted in history that there were several fires during the first seven year period.  We know owls live in trees and so many of the trees were destroyed.   The humans also brought the new diseases that the owls were not used to.  In addition they brought strange animals including rats and other creatures that could compete with the owl’s food supply.

More of the species as well other species have been found on the surrounding islands as well. It is however very hard to access these rare finds in these areas.

The researchers also hypothesized that Otus Mauli may have gone extinct because of its inability to fly long distances.  It did not have the adaptation requirements to survive. The owls could not fly the distances between the islands to maintain their population.  They were at a disadvantage; not being able to fly as far as the other continental birds of the time period. The fact that they were isolated allowed for the separate species from continental birds to appear in the first place.

The scientists are expecting to find more fossils of the Otus Mauli and perhaps even other species.  It is an exciting dig for the archeologist and a historical glimpse into the recent past.  These animals once fly over the islands just a short one hundred and fifty years ago. 

It is incredibly how the world animal population can disappear just like that.  The lesson humans should take from this is to protect our animals as they could be gone in the blink of an eye.



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Comments (8)

Brilliant information, Carol.  You have presented this well.

thank you Martin nice to see you again

Excellent article. Carol, you write so well on many different topics.

Excellent reaseach and composition Carol, learned something here, thank you. 

thanks so much Sandy I try to keep up with as many topics as I can

Very interesting news piece.  Thanks for sharing it.

thank you Ron

thank you Sandy