Scientists Say that the Mysterious Liberian Greenbul May Have Never Existed

Ever since the Liberian Greenbul first sighted more than three decades earlier, it had a mythical status. Since then ornithologists have spent years trying to find the songbird. Interestingly, a new research publish in the Journal of Ornithology, researchers said that the songbird might have never existed.

As mentioned earlier, the Liberian Greenbul was first spotted by researchers back in early 80s and at the time, scientists believed that the bird represented a new species but there was only one specimen till date. For over three decades, researchers spent time to discover more specimen for the bird but surveys back in 2010 and 2013 showed no sign of the elusive songbird. And now, following a DNA analysis at the University of Aberdeen, scientists have concluded the specimen discovered in the early 80s might be because of a nutritional deficiency rather than a new species.

Martin Collinson, from the University of Aberdeen said in a press release, “The Liberian Greenbul has gained almost ‘mythical’ status since it was sighted in the ’80s. We can’t say definitively that the Liberian Greenbul is the same bird as the Iceterine Greenbul but we have presented enough evidence that makes any other explanation seem highly unlikely. The genetic work was performed independently by scientists here in Aberdeen and in Dresden to make sure there could be no error — we both came to the same conclusion.”

Whether or not the scientists prove to be wrong in future remains to be seen but given that West Africa’s Cavalla Forest (where the specimen was first discovered) is considered as a heaven for biodiversity, we might learn about more species in the coming years.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

Related Articles