Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Rapid microevolution in nature
As Coyne stated on pg. 132, humans want to see a natural population meet a natural challenge, and they want to see the population evolve to meet it before their eyes. They want to see it occur without human interferrence and not in bacteria, but in "higher" plants and animals. Since humans have no control in this, it has to be nearly impossible to observe this, yet we have. A finch in the Galapagos Islands was observed to have evolved to a 10 % larger beak size in one generation after a drought made them find nutrution in larger and harder seeds than normal. Coyne states that this is "far larger than anything we see in the fossil record" (134). What other examples exist of microevolution, not man-made, that has been observed in nature in a very short period of time? Also, why is it that there is no past evidence of evolution occuring so quickly (as in one generation)? Could it be that the selective pressures are increasing? What could this mean for future evolution?