Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New species of bird discovered in India and China by international team of scientists

21.01.2016

A new species of bird has been discovered in northeastern India and adjacent parts of China by a team of scientists from Sweden, China, the U.S., India and Russia.

The bird, described in the current issue of the journal Avian Research, has been named Himalayan forest thrush Zoothera salimalii. The scientific name honors the great Indian ornithologist Sálim Ali, in recognition of his contributions to the development of Indian ornithology and nature conservation.


The Himalayan forest thrush was discovered in northeastern India and adjacent parts of China by a team of scientists from Sweden, China, the US, India and Russia.

Photo by Per Alstrom

The discovery process for the Himalayan forest thrush began in 2009 when it was realized that what was considered a single species, the plain-backed thrush Zoothera mollissima, was in fact two different species in northeastern India, said Pamela Rasmussen, of Michigan State University's Department of Integrative Biology and the MSU Museum, and coordinator of MSU's global bird sounds website AVoCet.

Rasmussen was part of the team, which was led by Per Alström of Uppsala University (Sweden).

What first caught scientists' attention was the plain-backed thrush in the coniferous and mixed forest had a rather musical song, whereas individuals found in the same area - on bare rocky ground above the treeline - had a much harsher, scratchier, unmusical song.

"It was an exciting moment when the penny dropped, and we realized that the two different song types from plain-backed thrushes that we first heard in northeast India in 2009, and which were associated with different habitats at different elevations, were given by two different species," Alström said.

Along with keen field observations, the scientists had to do a lot of sleuthing with museum specimens. Investigations involving collections in several countries revealed consistent differences in plumage and structure between birds that could be assigned to either of these two species. It was confirmed that the species breeding in the forests of the eastern Himalayas had no name.

"At first we had no idea how or whether they differed morphologically. We were stunned to find that specimens in museums for over 150 years from the same parts of the Himalayas could readily be divided into two groups based on measurements and plumage," Rasmussen said.

Further analyses of plumage, structure, song, DNA and ecology from throughout the range of the plain-backed thrush revealed that a third species was present in central China. This was already known but was treated as a subspecies of plain-backed thrush. The scientists called it Sichuan forest thrush.

The song of the Sichuan forest thrush was found to be even more musical than the song of the Himalayan forest thrush.

DNA analyses suggested that these three species have been genetically separated for several million years. Genetic data also yielded an additional exciting find: Three museum specimens indicated the presence of yet another unnamed species in China, the Yunnan thrush. Future studies are required to confirm this.

New bird species are rarely discovered nowadays. In the last 15 years, on average approximately five new species have been discovered annually, mainly in South America. The Himalayan forest thrush is only the fourth new bird species described from India since 1949.

Rasmussen is tied for the third-highest number of birds discovered in the world since 1950 and is ranked first for birds discovered in Asia, and Alström is second for Asia in the same time period.

Additional scientists who contributed to the study include Chao Zhao (China), Jingzi Xu (Sweden), Shashank Dalvi (India), Tianlong Cai (China), Yuyan Guan (China), Ruiying Zhang (China), Mikhail Kalyakin (Russia), Fumin Lei (China) and Urban Olsson (Sweden).

###

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Layne Cameron | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: DNA Himalayan forest thrush bird species nature conservation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>