Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Evolution in Real Time

Struggle © Amy Stein
A story in yesterday's New York Times points to a study that concludes, "human actions are increasing the rate of evolutionary change in plants and animals in ways that may hurt their long-term prospects for survival." Basically, many of our attempts at conservation have run counter to the natural order of habitat. We have focused hunting and fishing regulations to allow for the "harvesting" of larger animals, but in the wild it is the small and weak that would be culled by predators. The result is that plants and animals are experiencing rapid evolutionary trait change that may ultimately doom species.

I have been fascinated with real time evolution ever since I read The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner. This idea that evolution is happening now by natural cataclysms great and small and with each human intervention--deliberate or otherwise--is at the heart of my Domesticated series.
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