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Cape Parrot DNA New Species? Study Finds Bird Could Be in Its Own Group

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By    |   Thursday, 13 Aug 2015 02:06 PM

New evidence from the Cape parrot’s DNA shows that the brightly colored bird may be a separate species, splitting from the brown-necked parrot some 2 million years ago.

In an article published this week in the open-access “PLOS One” journal, scientists did a morphological, ecological, and behavioral assessment of the bird and determined the parrot, previously considered a sub-species of two other parrots, was a distinct species.

"Our results all support previous recommendations to elevate the Cape Parrot to species level. This will facilitate better planning and implementation of international and local conservation management strategies for the Cape Parrot," the "PLOS One" report said.



"Subspecies are not always given the same conservation consideration as species . . . which can hinder protection of genetically distinct lineages," the researchers, including Willem Coetzer from South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal, wrote.

Previous evidence had suggested the conclusion reached by Coetzer, but CBCNews reported that leading organizations like Birdlife International weren’t convinced the species should be separated.

"To be considered separate species, related animals or plants with overlapping ranges must be proven not to interbreed with one another," CBCNews wrote.

Genetic evidence will be critical in determining the overlap in species, scientists told CBC. The new DNA evidence gathered for this latest report should show the differentiation of the species.

"We are constantly advising our taxonomy and where new evidence comes to light, we'll obviously definitely consider that," Andrew Symes, global species officer for Birdlife International, told CBC.

If it is determined the Cape parrot is a separate species, CBC said it would qualify to be listed as endangered.

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New evidence from the Cape parrot’s DNA shows that the brightly colored bird may be a separate species, splitting from the brown-necked parrot some 2 million years ago.
cape, parrot, dna, new, species
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2015-06-13
Thursday, 13 Aug 2015 02:06 PM
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