After 200 years of being somewhat of an enigma, and having unknown provenance, the extinct spotted green pigeon has been found to be related to the iconic but extinct, flightless dodo.
Scientists in Australia analysed tiny DNA fragments extracted from feathers of the only remaining specimen (which is on show in the World Museum in Liverpool) and found it to be related to the nicobar pigeon of Indonesia and distantly related to the dodo of Mauritius.
Clem Fisher from the World Museum said: "We are very pleased that the extinct Spotted Green Pigeon has its correct place in the world of birds finally, after more than 230 years.”
The bird is often referred to as the 'Liverpool Pigeon' after the city in which the specimen is kept, but it would have come from either the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia or Oceania.
Leading scientist Dr Tim Heupink, from Griffith University in Australia said: "This study improves our ability to identify novel (new) species from historic remains, and also those that are not novel after all. Ultimately this will help us to measure and understand the extinction of local populations and entire species."