Mice in Madeira

GENETICS
I've been everywhere man - I mean mouse! João Gonçalves Zarco, the Portuguese explorer, thought he had discovered a pristine island untouched by man. However, Madeira had been reached earlier by other people. Mouse move with man and their genetic fingerprint showed that Vikings had got there first.
Madeira mice
Mice began "travelling" with humans when people stated storing grain. There is nothing like a free feed to hitch a ride. As grain was moved aboard ship, mice got on too. When a ship reached its destination the mice alighted and started a new colony of their own.

The mice who populated Madeira do not have DNA traces of Portuguese mice. They are related to north eastern European mice. Apparently, viking did not construct any lasting structure on the island. This is also the case in North America where very little evidence has been found of Viking exploration.

Carbon dating of mice skeletons on Madeira show the earliest to be 1,000 years old. This was the high point of Viking wanderings across the globe. Like humans, mice do damage. Their presence is responsible for the extinction of native marine birds - they ate them!
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