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Evolution may happen faster than we thought

To compare changes between species over time, researchers used named metrics Darwin And the Haldane (by British scientist JBS Haldane). These are statistical metrics that offer a way to compare the different types of information in the database, from the height of birch trees growing near foundries in Russia to how acidification of Swedish lakes affects frog survival rates.

The new analysis found that rates of phenotypic change were higher in populations affected by human activity than in those unaffected. But the researchers were surprised to find it Little evidence isolates climate change as a cause of appearance change. Pollution appears to be a more influential factor, which is responsible for changes such as those seen in Russian birch trees and Swedish lakes. “We think it’s because it’s hard to tell what it is [causato dal, nda] Climate change more than anything else – said Hendry –. Climate change is happening everywhere“.

The Climate Change Effects They will not be uniformly warned around the world. In the Arctic, it can lead polar bears to develop new hunting behaviors unrelated to the presence of ice; In the oceans, it could mean that coral species have already adapted to live in ‘stressful’ environments. They will become the dominant species, to replace those we know now. “Many of these species evolve very rapidly in response to these changes – Sanderson explained –. But what is not seen and cannot be determined [con questo lavoro, nda]People who don’t adapt and die“.

Proceed database available Online For scientists hoping for an answer New questions about rapid development. For now, the data confirms that human actions are altering plant and animal species in ways from which they may never recover.

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Contrasting views

It may seem like a frustrating scenario, But these results can also be interpreted in a reassuring way. The fact that poaching is leading to a decline in the number of some species may only prove that humans are not immune to the dynamics that govern every other organism. The animals we know will change or disappear, and new ones will evolve to replace them: life will go on, even if it is not as we know it today. “Thanks to studies like this, I have no concerns about life on Earth with climate change – said Thomas Cameron, professor of animal ecology at the University of Essex, who was not involved in the research –. The natural world will still exist, but it may not be the same and some species will become extinct. But others will change and evolve“.

This work, says Cameron, It reinforces the idea that evolution is always going onSmall changes that add up to larger changes over longer periods of time. Despite all our damage, this research shows that some animals and some plants will be able to adapt quickly enough to survive global warming, because they have been doing so for millions of years.

This is a reassuring thought, but also frightening, because other species will not survive. For them, the stress of pollution and climate change will outweigh their ability to adapt. It is up to us to decide how many changes we can accept. The world created by human influences can be very different from the world our species has adapted to live in. “This work tells us that populations have changed and will continue to change in response to their environment Cameron explained. The community expects to wake up in the morning and see some landscape or biodiversity. Nature is not this. Nature is change“.

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This article originally appeared on Wired UK.