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Estimate 40 pairs of chromosomes, ~1.2 gigabases based on other species of goose
A small lizard-like animal (basal amniote tetrapod) ~340 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, when the tetrapods divided into synapsids which became mammals and diapsids which evolved to birds and reptiles.
I should be sequenced because...: Better understanding our adaptability by finding out what makes us susceptible and resistant to diseases and our environment.
Canada geese are originally from, you guessed it, Canada. We first came to the UK when we were introduced to St James’ Park in London in 1665, supposedly by King Charles II because he thought we were so magnificent. Collecting Canada geese became popular and other collectors introduced us to lakes on their fancy estates. Some of us escaped and we’ve adopted the UK as our own.
We are the largest geese in the UK and we’re often found around lakes, ponds and rivers. We particularly like grassy parklands with water. We are well adapted to living around humans, but not everyone is keen on us. Some people think we are pests because we can be quite aggressive and our droppings are – ahem – problematic. The British Trust for Ornithology describes us as “amongst the most inedible of birds”.
Canada geese here in the UK will never see Canada – unlike other species of goose, we don’t migrate and we like it here all year round. Goslings can walk and swim within hours of hatching in order to escape predators. Goslings (and ducklings) imprint on animals we see shortly after hatching – normally our parents – but we have been known to imprint on other animals including other goose species or humans. These goslings then think they are the species that they have imprinted on.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Loud, large, aggressive
What's it like where you live?
Grassy areas near lakes, rivers and ponds
What's your favourite food?
Grass, leaves, roots, seeds, water plants, insects and grains
What's your family life like?
Canada geese pair for life, female lays 2-9 eggs (5 on average) and goslings stay with their parents for about a year.
Are you endangered or threatened by anything?
Canada geese are flourishing, few animals will attack a fully grown goose - foxes, large predatory birds. Goslings and eggs are more vulnerable, which is why the parents are so aggressive
What's the best thing about you/interesting fact?
Geese are much more resistant to many avian viruses than chickens or turkeys
The champion of this species is...
I'm a researcher with a background in physiology. My scientific interests include phenotyping - seeing what effect mutations have on animal characteristics. I'm also interested in birds, I've always been interested in animals and I got into birdwatching when I was younger.