As a result, most mambutterflies were a mixture of blue, red, and silver, which meant they stood out against the tundra in the winter and against the grasslands in the summer. The coats of the mambutterflies were highly prized by the early humans in the region as each coat’s elaborate patterns were unique and couldn’t be copied by a human eye. For this reason, scientists believe the mambutterflies were hunted almost to extinction. Eventually, the remaining creatures journeyed north, far away from the grasslands and the humans found there, to the northern coast of Russia on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

This migration meant their diet changed slightly and they started to eat mosses that were growing on granite and other rocks, which contained fewer metals. Consequently, the coats of the mambutterflies turned black. It’s believed the creatures suffered from anxiety at the loss of their beautifully coloured coats and headed back south to try and regain their former glory. These annual journeys between south and north are the first known migrations of animals.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided