Posted by: atowhee | August 11, 2015

TWO, THEN ONLY ONE, NOW TWO AGAIN

What a tangled web can taxonomy be.  How many crossbill or Fox Sparrow species are there?

This time the scientists who umpire these things have found a single hummingbird species in the Bahamas–research done at garden feeders–is actually two species.  Welcome the Inaugan Woodstar alongside its long, taxonomically dominant cousin, the Bahama Woodstar.

Back in the 19th Century birders saw they were two species but a 20th Century “expert” decided they were only one.  So goes the game of visual observation vs. DNA and sound analysis.  Unlike most new species this one doesn’t require a trek into  some place hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital or brewpub.  It can be viewed easily in suburban areas of the Bahamas.

Read more about it on Cornell’s website.

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