Cryptids and Evolution A bird could hold the answer?


There have been many explanations offered
for the existence of cryptid creatures. I have looked at the possibility that what
people could be seeing are “Phantimals” the spirits of long-dead animals haunting
the woods and lakes of the world. There are some other ideas which are more
grounded in hard science and could provide an answer to the cryptid question. The possibility of an animal living past a
time when it was thought to have gone extinct being one and or an animal that has somehow
managed to avoid being captured and identified by a modern biologist for the period of recorded
history we use today. There may be another answer, evolution may
play its part. Animals may be evolving to fill empty niches
in ecosystems, these niches opening up because of the extinction of other species. Could this event explain the existence of
cryptid creatures? Let’s take a look. Welcome to if ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Many have searched for an answer to the appearance
of creatures that do not fit with excepted evolutionary history, sceptics also use evolution
to debunk sightings of beasts that they say should not be alive, but what if the story
is not so simple? What if a small bird could provide us with
an example and an answer to the questions many cryptozoologist and biologist ask! This bird is not a species thought long extinct,
or a rediscovered animal that has avoided detection for a long time. It is an avian species that was once extinct
and by a miracle of nature has once again come into existence thanks to evolution. Evolution is often seen as a linear path,
one animal evolving from another, creatures morphing and changing as time passes until
they become a distinct species. But in truth evolution is a messy process
with many paths and branches, more of a jumbled mess of lines that often throw up surprises. Different species leapfrogging one another,
others evolving to resemble animals found in a completely different genus. These animals and this process can create
some odd looking beasts and the way this will play out in the future can make for an interesting
thought experiment. Take a look at my “postnatural earth video”
and see what has been imagined by a French artist
But let’s get back to the Extinct Bird which Evolved Back into Existence. The Aldabra white-throated rail – a flightless
bird which was found on Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, and Seychelles went extinct some
136,000 years ago. This bird has now just, what could be termed
as “re-evolved” So how or what is re-evolution? This species of bird has moved between the
islands many times over the past hundreds of thousands of years often it has been subjected
to extinction events that have wiped it out in a single area or on one of the islands. The study published in the Linnean Society
zoological journal points out that fossils collected in these areas show that the White-throated
rail lived only on Aldarad atoll for thousands of years. The fossils showed that the bird was once
a species which could fly but it gave up this ability shortly after settling on the world’s
second largest coral atoll. This population of birds would have done well
to keep their ability to fly, Mother Nature had plans for the coral island and as rising
sea levels at the end of the Pleistocene era sank the island all the birds that called
the atoll home drowned!! This brings us to the part of the story that
we as fans of cryptids are interested in. Avian paleontologist Julian Hume, from the
Natural History Museum London, along with David Martill, a paleobiologist at the University
of Portsmouth, found fossil evidence on the island which showed that as recently as 20,000
years ago, the same evolutionary ancestor of the extinct bird was living happily on
the sister islands of the Seychelles and Madagascar. This bird once again repeated the journey
its ancient ancestor had taken and started its journey on the same evolutionary path
its ancient relation had once headed down, a process that is known as “iterative evolution.” They flew to the now dry atoll settled and
once again lost the ability to fly. Iterative evolution has been seen before in
other species ranging from sea turtles to mammalian sea cows. This is, however, the first time it has been
witnessed in birds. Paleobiologist David Martill explained:
“We know of no other example in rails, or of birds in general, that demonstrates this
phenomenon so evidently. Only on Aldabra, which has the oldest palaeontological
record of any oceanic island within the Indian Ocean region, is fossil evidence available
that demonstrates the effects of changing sea levels on extinction and recolonisation
events. Conditions were such on Aldabra, the most
important being the absence of terrestrial predators and competing mammals, that a rail
was able to evolve flightlessness independently on each occasion.” The expert went onto say this could offer
hope for other flightless bird species that have gone extinct, he pointed out the symbol
of manmade extinction the dodo as a bird which could one-day re-evolve from a living ancestor,
if we could find one that is. If this process is common across all types
of living thing, mammal, reptile and avian, could this same model of “iterative evolution”
be used with more cryptid creatures? Let’s take arguably the world’s most popular
cryptid Bigfoot or Sasquatch. The theory that Bigfoot and all his cousins
found around the planet are a living species of great ape or human ancestor is popular. Gigantopithecus is the favourite candidate
for a living fossil explaining the existence of these mysterious hominids, but what if
we follow the path laid out by Iterative evolution? Could the Alamas, Yeti, Yowie and others,
be creatures that have evolved from a smaller species of ape? The genes evolving to express the traits,
characteristics and appearance of the species of the giant ape that went extinct as recently
as 100,000 years ago. Could a convergence in evolution. (The process whereby organisms not closely
related, independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar
environments or ecological niches). Provide us with an answer that for scientific
purposes gives us an evolutionary path that offers a plausible answer for these large
hominids existing today. If this is something that has appeared in
the fossil record there is no reason that theoretically it is something that could be
used to explain the Sasquatch and the phenomena of giant hominids. But as is always, until we get some real concrete
proof of Bigfoot and his relatives it is speculation and theory. I do like the idea of “iterative evolution”
or “convergent evolution” for an answer to the appearance of strange cryptids. Nature can morph existing species into animals
that we cannot easily recognize or that we think are some other completely different
type of creature. Could sea serpents and lake monsters be a
giant species of eel or some other kind of yet to be identified fish, could the sightings
of living pterosaurs be reptiles that have once again evolved flight using a similar
body pattern to the extinct flying reptiles of the past? Maybe Thunderbirds are giant raptors once
again evolving to fill an empty ecological niche on the planet? We saw this happen with another raptor the
Vegetarian Eagle, and many other animals. In a strange turn of events the Palm Nut Vulture
or “Vulturine Fish Eagle” an African relative of the Golden Eagle, Buzzard and Goshawk a
bird that ferociously attacks Oil Palm trees instead of preying on animals. This raptor evolved a special digestive system
for its new vegetarian diet, but yet it looks and acts just like most other eagles. The difference is that instead of ripping
flesh from bones using its powerful beak it now uses it to crack open nuts. This bird shows us just how fluid genetic
adaptation is, and how quickly an animal can deviate from what is perceived as the norm. Another animal this time a mammal that highlights
the drastic changes a body can go through in a relatively short time is the Marsupial
Mole. Australia’s has the world’s largest number
of marsupial species, often they are completely unrelated to other mammal groups found across
the planet. These Marsupials have been noted as coming
up with “answers” in evolutionary terms, that mammals from other groups have not. Where mammal carnivores evolved into the lions
we are so familiar with today, the marsupial group produced the now extinct marsupial version
“the Thylacine”. The Thylacine being another creature that
cryptozoologist propose is still living, maybe it is also another example of iterative evolution. But let’s get back to our mole, the marsupial
mole is unrelated to the familiar moles of Europe, Asia & North America. The strange, sightless marsupial looks and
acts just like a mole in its habitat, but it is in no way related to the aforementioned
moles. It has evolved to thrive in its chosen environment
and this evolution has shaped an animal that closely matches animals in other parts of
the word yet it is no relation a perfect example of “converging evolution”
This strange evolutionary pattern is not limited to fauna, it can also be observed in flora. The monkey face orchid a plant Native to the
mountainous regions of Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru bears an uncanny resemblance to….
a monkey’s face. Blooming all year round the rare plant emits
a scent like ripe oranges and it is not alone the bee orchid, you guessed it acts as a bee. Specifically a female bee. The bee orchid attracts male bees for pollination
by mimicking a receptive female. As well as producing a scent that the male
bee confuses with the alluring odour of a potential mate. Its petals also resemble the shape of a female. When the male mistakenly tries to mate with
the object of its affections, it also transfers pollen to the flower. The last and somewhat comical plant is the
naked man orchid. Also known as the Italian orchid, this flower
has clusters of petals that look like cute little naked men. So it would seem that nature does like to
follow a design that works, the same or very similar body patterns and behaviours evolving
in different and unrelated species of animal and plant. So do you think this idea is a suitable explanation
for some cryptid species? Could “iterative evolution” be an answer
to the many strange animals spotted all over the world? Had you heard of these strange patterns of
evolution? What flora or fauna do you know that express
these evolutionary quirks? Let me know in the comments below.

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Reader Comments

  1. The Crypto Zoo

    I believe the trees have spirits also, and this is most likely true about spirits of dead animals. I love this video thank you so much

  2. Ryan Tremblay

    So glad you covered this topic, dude. Makes you contemplate whether Science has missed the evolution of certain species. I was just last night debating the existence of Dog Man and it's possible evolution. Could be that this method of evolution played a part. Sure, there may be little to nothing as far as the skeletal fossil record goes but these things are talked of in history. Ancient Egyptians described Anubis, Greek writings spoke of Lycos. And let us not forget of the saint that allegedly had a Canine's head.

  3. Sokar Rostau

    Thylacines were the 'marsupial wolf' that officially went extinct in the 1930s.
    The 'marsupial lion' was Thylacoleo and they've been extinct for tens of thousands of years.

  4. Adrian Head

    Iterative evolution, as interesting an idea as it may be, is not the same a re-evolving an extinct species. It may result in an incredibly similar creature but I'd imagine the DNA would still be significantly different. It's impossible for every single change to occur again to result in an "identical" species – the probabilities are literally innumerable.

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