Monday, January 05, 2009
"Pink iguanas" may sound like the name of a girl-group rock band, but scientists discovered only in 1986 that the Galapagos Isalnds were home to a population of iguanas with a distinct pinkish hue offset by black stripes. Now a new scientific study the lizards have been formally described as a separate species. Study leader Gabriele Gentile of the University Tor Vergata in Rome thinks the lizards also mark an important adaptive radiation, similar to Charles Darwin's famous finches from the same islands. (Darwin's visit did not include the islands of these fashionably attired reptiles). Gentile wrote, "So far, this species is the only evidence of ancient diversification along the Galapagos land iguana lineage and documents one of the oldest events of divergence ever recorded in the Galapagos."