Some of the most fascinating species live in the tropics. Researchers now believe that most of the species may have migrated from another region in the world.
What Was Discovered About Life In The Tropics?
A study confirmed that many of the species of animals that currently inhabit Latin America originated from the Amazon rainforest. A team of international researchers carefully studied the different and diverse species in the region before reaching this conclusion.
Although the species in the tropics came from many regions, it seems that the majority of them originated from the Amazon.
"Two main factors seem to explain the key role of Amazonia in exporting so much diversity: its huge area, and the large amount of time that species have existed there," said Antonelli. "Together, these have increased the chances of species dispersing into new habitats and regions."
The researchers discovered that the tropics contain some of the most unique species in the world. As a result, it is also one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. The researchers also determined how the species moved to Latin America and settled there.
"We were astonished to detect so much movement across such different environments and over such large distances," said Harvard scholar Alexandre Antonelli, the study's lead author. "Up until now, these natural dispersal events were assumed to be quite rare. Our results show how crucial these events have been in the formation of tropical America's unique and outstandingly rich biodiversity."
After migrating from the Amazon, the plants and animals had to evolve so that they could survive the conditions in Latin America. This explains why the tropics are currently home to many diverse organisms.
The researchers were compelled to learn how the entire ecosystem in the tropics evolved so that they could better understand the importance of biodiversity.
How Did Researchers Discover The Connection With The Amazon?
To discover this connection, researchers inspected specimens from Harvard University Herbaria and the Museum of Comparative Zoology, as well as other natural history collections.
They compared data about evolutionary relationships and the history of different species. The researchers studied plants, birds, mammals, snakes, and lizards to reach their hypothesis.
The Impact Of This Discovery In The Tropics
The study sheds light on the importance of biodiversity in the tropics, and how the ecosystems are being threatened by human activities.
While Antonelli is glad that his team made this discovery, more work has to be done. The researchers want to study the process that drove the species from the Amazon into different regions.