The Mediterranean had become an immense saline and from Africa and Asia they came flying great pink flamingo flocks for feeding on the small seaweeds, red prawns, Ephydra flies and tiny snails that proliferated in Mediterranean brackish waters of the lakes. Flamingo dance
Some halophile plants like salicornias, salsolas and sarcocornias survived with their adapted roots in the caustic mud of the margins of the lakes. Rains were very little and irregular, something more generous in the tops of mountains, where the dwarfed antelope Myotragus balearicus reigned to its wide without the pressure of no terrestrial predators. Their unique natural enemies were the great predatory birds with sufficient force to pursue to some young, hurt or ill unit.
Another very abundant Balearic plant in the Serra de Tramuntana also speaks us of the Messinian period, the Arum Pictum, a Tyrrhenian endemism that formed during this convulsive million years of delayed Miocene. When the Mediterranean Sea was a parched desert the islands of Majorca and Menorca were practically united with a deep valley among them and the Eastern end of Menorca was united as well with the island of Sardinia with very little water that separated them, forming along with the neighboring island of Corsica and the south of France the called Tyrrhenian Region, which allowed to the interchange of plants and animals between the then mountains of the Eastern Balearics, Corsica, Sardinia and the French coast. The Arum pictum lives then at present in the islands that conformed the mountains of the Tyrrhenian region.
When one of its descendants arrived at the Tyrrhenian region in the heat of Messinian period colonized one after another one the then mountains of Corsica and Sardinia and thence jumped to Menorca and Majorca. After the later ascent of the level of the sea, the Balearics mountains became islands and tyrrhenian paeonia was isolated and underwent diverse adaptive mutations until transforming into our gorgeous Paeonia cambessedesii that at present only lives in Majorca, Menorca and Cabrera. In spite of having hundreds of species of paeonia in Europe and Asia, all of them have same both Asian ancestors.
When the Mediterranean was dried during the Messinian, spores of Dryopteris pallida subsp. pallida and its hybrid daughter Dryopteris tyrrhena they managed to later colonize then mountains of Corsica and Sardinia and the fresh and humid top of the mountain of Majorca, that is to say, the present Serra de Tramuntana. Dryopteris pallida subsp. pallida underwent a dwarfing mutation to adapt better to the dry and warm climate of Majorca and gave rise to the Majorcan Dryopteris pallida subsp. balearica, whereas Dryopteris tyrrhena continued in its expansion towards the Betic-Rif Massif and arrived until the present Sierra Nevada of Granada, unique locality of this fern in the Iberian Peninsula.
The peculiar present distribution of Dryopteris tyrrhena in Spanish territory demonstrates its clear Messinian origin. As in the case of Asplenium azomanes, the later ascent of sea level isolated the populations of Majorca and Granada. In both localities it is held in the fresh permanently humid tops of the highest mountains. In Majorca it is in critical danger of extinction by the incessant destruction of its habitat and the ruthless browse of the feral goats. The number of unit in wild state does not surpass the two dozens.
I do not want to finish this article without mentioning other endemic plants that live in the Serra de Tramuntana. Unlike the before mentioned plants they don´t have a clearly Messinian origin, but their beauty or peculiarity makes them deserving of a special mention. Some of them live on coastal rocks, others in the highest tops and the others in the skirts of mountains, especially oriented towards the north and the northwest.
In the last 30 years Naufraga balearica has been reason for an intense controversy between botanists, since at first a endemism strict of Majorca was considered, but in 1981 a small population of an apparently identical plant in the west of the Island of Corsica between Cargèse and Piana was found. Nevertheless two years later in 1983 a group of botanists returned to the same place and in spite of looking for intensively they did not manage it to find it. Since then it is considered extinct officially in Corsica.
Years ago I had a so fantastic experience, so espritual and magical that one is never going away to forget to me. A morning of autumn I very early rose with the idea to look for ferns on rocks of this torrent. I arrived when it finished leaving the sun, the rays of the dawn illuminated little waters of the torrent, there was nobody and I was walking torrent above on the heavy gravel with the high rocky walls to each side. Suddenly I noted that the unique noise was the one of my own steps on the gravel. I paused and I listened overwhelmed the impressive silence of that one magical place. It was a wonderful spectacle of pure, virgin, intact nature, most similar to the Earthly Paradise. The heart was accelerated and barked with force in my chest and my eyes became damp by the emotion. I am never going it to forget.