What? Why is everybody looking at me like that?
IT HAPPENED to Mark Twain, now it has happened to an enigmatic species of gannet: reports of its death, it seems, are greatly exaggerated.
The Tasman booby (Sula dactylatra tasmani) was first described in 1988 from fossils found on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, off the east coast of Australia, but went extinct in the late 18th century after being eaten by European sailors.
Now, a team of geneticists, palaeontologists and naturalists has declared the bird very much alive. It is living among its fossil ancestors on both islands, and also on New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands to the east (Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0478).
I’m not saying that we should eat them all: but I figure that anything that we hunted to apparent extinction probably tastes pretty good. I’m given to understand that passenger pigeon pie was pretty tasty, for example; it’s a shame that there aren’t any more.
Again, I’m perfectly willing to keep up a viable breeding population, yes. Sheesh.
(Via AoSHQ Headlines)