Almost everywhere you go in the world, you will see large, black, croaking birds. “Corvus” is their scientific name, but here we know them better under names like ravens, crows, rooks or even jackdaws. In other parts of the globe, representatives of this species will be given local names, of course, but the human appellation is incidental to them. What matters is that they are there and have adapted to new environments on almost every continent, which some of their close relatives have failed to do – other members of the large family of corvidae, such as magpies or jays. This ability to spread and adapt to local living conditions has intrigued an international group of scientists, who have just devoted a study to it published in the journal “Nature Communications”.
Goats prefer happy people
For the team led by Joan Garcia-Porta, researcher in the genetics department of the University of Barcelona, the genus Corvus would be “one of the most widespread groups of birds in the world” which would have experienced an unprecedented expansion, while the other members of the family would have mainly remained on their continent of origin. Scientists wanted to understand why.
10 million years of dispersion around the world
The corvids would have started to diversify here between 22 and 18 million years ago, and the genus Corvus would have been born around 10 mil