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Snails Hitched Ride on Birds to Cross Atlantic

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the come-and-take-a-ride-with-a-helluva-guy dept.

Biotech 48

Ant writes "This MSNBC story reports that snails hitched ride on birds to cross ocean separated by 5,500 miles of water (Europe to an island in the South Atlantic) are same genus. This was according to a new research. Snails of the genus Balea are found throughout Europe and the Azores, the group of islands in the middle of the North Atlantic, and similar snails can be found on a tiny island chain in the South Atlantic. Because of the enormous distance between these two groups, scientists have long believed they belonged to a different genus, Tristania. Now, genetic and anatomical analyses show that the Tristania snails are actually members of the Balea genus. The study, published in the journal Nature, indicates that Balea snails somehow traveled from Europe to the Azores and evolved into two different species. Then, some packed up and headed 5,500 miles south to Tristan da Cunha, where they further differentiated into eight more species... Seen on Shacknews."

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Ok, but how did the elephants do it? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14567957)

Hrm?

Re:Ok, but how did the elephants do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568027)

Really big birds.

Re:Ok, but how did the elephants do it? (3, Funny)

LightningBolt! (664763) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568108)

Guard: "What, a swallow, carrying an elephant?"

Arthur: "It could grip it by the tusk."

Guard: "It's not a question of where he grips it. It's a simple question of weight ratios. A five ounce bird could not carry a 2000 pound elephant!"

Re:Ok, but how did the elephants do it? (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568580)

Is that an African Swallow, or a European Swallow?

Re:Ok, but how did the elephants do it? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568110)

They hitched a lift with the whales.

unladen birds? (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568827)

What if they were carried on a line...

Re:unladen birds? (1, Insightful)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14571745)

Good idea - this gives us an opportunity for another layer of protocol tunneling - IP over Snail over Carrier-Pigeon. The data rate and ping times might be low, but now it has hard-shelled security.

Re:Ok, but how did the elephants do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14573320)

Bigger birds

Aesop's Fables (3, Interesting)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567962)

I seem to recall a similar story about a turtle and some birds from Aesop's Fables. Life imitating art?

Re:Aesop's Fables (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568191)

I seem to recall a similar story about a turtle and some birds from Aesop's Fables. Life imitating art?

I recall the story of the death of Aeschylus, and the uncannily similar death of the False Prophet Vorbis...

I also recall this being one hypothesis for how the seed of the coconut tree managed to spread itself. Unfortunately, the theory ran into difficulties regarding the practical lifting power of the available avians.

Re:Aesop's Fables (1)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568228)

Which do you mean, African or European avians?

Re:Aesop's Fables (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568616)

Dammit! You beat me to it...

Nitpicking (1)

xorowo (733585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14571076)

Since this migration probably happened hundreds of thousands of years ago (or, perhaps, millions), it's highly unlikely that life is imitating art here. Unless, of course, Aesop wrote his Fables long before written language was formed.

Re:Nitpicking (1)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14571669)

Yeah, I was actually thinking more along the lines of "old legend assumed to be a mere story that turns out to have a grain of truth buried in it", but that isn't nearly as pithy as "art imitating life", which is what I was thinking. Damn computers, always doing what I say, when they know damn well it isn't what I really mean.

Snails hitching rides on Birds? (1)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567971)

They are probably brainslugs. Watch out!

now i know (4, Funny)

middlemen (765373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14567993)

Oh good... now I finally know how snail mail works!

Re:now i know (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568150)

Scientists have always wanted to understand the Pidgeon-to-Pidgeon transfer protocol.

Obl. Monthy Python (4, Funny)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568006)

Did they ride on the back of an african or a european swallow?

Re:Obl. Monthy Python (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568826)

Not on the back, no. They were carried in half a hollowed-out coconut, strung between two swallows.

snail seen on Shacknews? (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568189)

where they further differentiated into eight more species... Seen on Shacknews."

Well, there's some pretty slimy people in the comments over there, but I wouldn't call them snails. :)

A simpler answer (1)

feijai (898706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568210)

The FSM put the snails on both sides of the Atlantic. To test our faith!

Quite wrong... (2, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568393)

... it's obviously that the snails got there by way of a lost continent which formed a land bridge! This sunken land I am convinced we will find if we look hard enough, and I call it Snailuria!

Re:A simpler answer (1)

bbc (126005) | more than 8 years ago | (#14571887)

I am pretty sure pirates helped the snail cross the ocean.

Ants (4, Interesting)

Kickersny.com (913902) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568282)

This reminds me of a similar fact I heard that ants have been found on every island of the world, with no obvious explanation as to how they got there.

Ironically enough, the Captcha image below is for the word "anteater."

Have you've seen ants float in water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568453)

They can't break the surface tension. They can pratically bounce on water.

Re:Ants (3, Interesting)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568668)

There are no native ants on Hawaii. All were introduced by Europeans. It's probably true for a few other islands also.

Re:Ants (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568977)

This reminds me of a similar fact I heard that ants have been found on every island of the world, with no obvious explanation as to how they got there.

I think it's because the ants burrow into the husks of coconuts. These said coconuts are carried by birds to various islands.

At least that's what I was told by this guy who told me the some great tricks to spot witches and stop earthquakes.

Re:Ants (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570463)

I know Argentine ants hitchiked on a ship from South American to other countries like United States. See http://www-biology.ucsd.edu/news/article_051500.ht ml [ucsd.edu] ...

"The tiny dark-brown and black ants, which are about two millimeters in length, are thought to have entered the United States aboard ships carrying coffee or sugar from Argentina during the 1890s, then expanded throughout California and the southern parts of the United States. In the Southeast and much of the South, their proliferation is now limited to some extent by the introduction of fire ants."

Re:Ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14570537)

I heard that ants have been found on every island of the world

I find it unlikely that human beings have set foot on every island of the world.

Re:Ants (1)

barakn (641218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14571592)

You did know ants can fly [colostate.edu] , didn't you?

Similar situation also happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568292)

...when rabbits rode on the backs of sea turtles, only to jump off at the last minute to win the race. Seems kinda unfair, if you ask me.

This also explains... (5, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568333)

This also explains coconut migration.

Re:This also explains... (1)

dohzer (867770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568674)

I guess a swallow could grip it by the husk!

Re:This also explains... (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568750)

I was always told that coconut migrated by being dropped in the ocean and being carried elsewhere by the waves of the ocean... That is ofcourse something I learned as a child and really don't question. But yah.

Re:This also explains... (2, Funny)

SillySlashdotName (466702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569737)

Not according to
(chorus: HALLELUJAH!)
  Monty Python!
(chorus: Amen, Brother!)

And who are you going to believe, some anonymous somebody or
  (chorus: HALLELUJAH!)
Monty Python?

Re:This also explains... (1)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570067)

hmm sorry I'm not a monty python fan, so I didn't get the joke

Air Escargot (2, Funny)

Ranger (1783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568368)

I for one welcome our bird-riding snail overlords. Oh, forget it! This is just getting silly.

Imagine a race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14568376)

Think about a bird holding still long enough for a snail to climb aboard. Does this mean snails are faster than birds?

Monkeys have also been employed by snails (1)

Tedium Unleased (764661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14568719)

Re:Monkeys have also been employed by snails (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14569522)

The joke in that strip is that that's not actually a monkey, but a sloth, and can't move fast enough to escape the lava.

Re:Monkeys have also been employed by snails (1)

Tedium Unleased (764661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14577398)

Wow... thanks. I thought sloths were like a mythical creature from the bible or something, related to the one of the deadly sins.

If Snail can do it... (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14569202)

Coconuts can too!

King Arthur was right!

Re:If Snail can do it... (1)

NMThor (949485) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570219)

African or European?

I know this will help with computations (1)

Jakuta (643082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14570043)

Now we can see how long the journey will take the snails. http://www.style.org/unladenswallow/ [style.org]

What about continental drift? (0)

8Complex (10701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14572085)

The snails could have suvived the millions of years needed to the continents to have split apart. It seems the most logical explanation to me... not hitching a ride with birds over 5,000 miles of ocean, that is for sure.

Third Grade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14573654)

Jesus Christ, this summary reads like a 3rd grade book report from a kid who barely speaks English. Can you make some attempt to actually edit? I just burned 100 calories trying to read that. Taco -- is this the "informal" environment you're really looking to foster?

Maybe they just walked. (1)

Keith McClary (14340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14576084)

Maybe they just walked across the seafloor.

Or however you describe their locomotion - is there a word for that?

Re:Maybe they just walked. (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14579026)

Or however you describe their locomotion - is there a word for that?

What? Slithering around in your own icker? The word I use for it is "gross".
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