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Senior Contributor

Cities driving evolution

The environments in cities being so different from natural environments are causing some changes in evolution of some species.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/urban-evolution-cities-1.4383733

 

Scientific evidence suggests:

  • The beaks of birds like house finches and great tits are getting bigger so they can more easily eat from backyard bird feeders in Tucson, Arizona, and Oxford, England, respectively.
  • Lizards called crested anoles are growing longer limbs and stickier toes for climbing buildings in Puerto Rican cities.
  • Fish and pests are developing resistance to human pollutants and poisons.
  • A mosquito that lives underground appears to be emerging as a new species from sewers and subway tunnels beneath cities around the world. It has different genes, feeding and breeding habits from its cousins, a species known as Culex pipiens, that live above ground.

Those are just some of the dozens of examples uncovered by University of Toronto biology professor Marc Johnson and Jason Munshi-South, a biology professor at Fordham University in New York. The pair pored through the scientific literature and looked for patterns among 192 studies that appear to show evolution in action in urban settings. They published their results in the journal Science Thursday.

6 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Cities driving evolution

Is Hillary Clinton going to grow a beak?

Senior Contributor

Re: Cities driving evolution

Sounds like the Toronto could be the new Galapagos.  Well, it's logical.  Waterhemp is evolving around glyphosate so it's not at all out of the ordinary for biological evolution to adapt to the environment.

Senior Contributor

Re: Cities driving evolution

(The beaks of birds like house finches and great tits are getting bigger so they can more easily eat from backyard bird feeders...)

 

Sounds like he just copied his "scientific" findings from the 1970's study of finches on the Galapagos Islands where researchers found that under certain conditions different species of finches with different sizes of beaks, etc. mate with each other.

Senior Contributor

Re: Cities driving evolution

"Waterhemp is evolving around glyphosate so it's not at all out of the ordinary for biological evolution to adapt to the environment."

 

common misunderstanding of evolution, waterhemp isn't evolving, the waterhemp that was resistant or immune to glyphosate survived and waterhemp that wasn't was killed.  that allowed the surviving waterhemp to spread its seeds and multiply. 

 

evolution, if it exists, takes a much longer time to happen than a few years.

 

Senior Contributor

Re: Cities driving evolution

You might want to read up on evolution.

Resistance is a species evolving because of pressure from the environment.

 

Every individual life form has mutations in its genes, put some pressure on the selection process to make one mutation the winner and you have evolved that species.

Senior Contributor

Re: Cities driving evolution

The detrimental effects cities are having on the environment preclude that they should be banned.