Inaccessible Island is a tiny islet of the Tristan da Cunha group, sited within the south Atlantic roughly halfway between southern Argentina and South Africa, and would have little declare to fame, have been it not for a really peculiar member of its avifauna. The species in query is a miniscule rail, solely 5 in lengthy (little bigger than a newly-hatched rooster), and with such tiny, poorly-formed wings that it’s completely flightless, making it the world’s smallest extant species of flightless fowl.
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A distant spot, not readily reached, Inaccessible Island was well-named. Attributable to its inaccessibility, its minute rail (discovered nowhere else on the planet) escaped formal scientific recognition till 1923, when the Reverend H.M.C. Rogers, resident chaplain on Tristan da Cunha, collected some skins of it in response to a request made by the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition’s naturalist, a Mr Wilkins. The expedition had visited the island group slightly earlier, and had heard the locals communicate in regards to the tiny ‘island hen’ of Inaccessible, however had been unable to journey there to hunt it out.
Fortunately, nonetheless, these unsuccessful makes an attempt now not mattered when, on 5 July 1923, two of the skins collected by Rogers arrived at what was then the British Museum (Pure Historical past), and have been described that very same 12 months by Percy R. Lowe, who named the brand new species Atlantisia rogersi. ‘Atlantisia‘ alludes to the idea by some staff that the Tristan da Cunha islands are remnants of the fabled sunken continent of Atlantis.
This ShukerNature weblog article is excerpted and expanded from my ebook The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals.