Species Explosion


I have no idea if this is good news or bad. I only find it interesting that life continues to evolve even as the world changes. If you are an optimist you will say that this means that the dire predictions by many are false. If you are a negativist you will point out that this is terrible that potentially man is causing an unnatural evolution.

I tend to be a centrist and try to find the middle for all things. So in this case, I think it is wonderful that the animal and plant kingdoms will find a way to thrive even if man is potentially killing other types of life off. According to the theory of evolution, life has always been evolving to accentuate the ability to survive – this is simply one more point on the curve. I also find it sad that some species will cease to exist due to this change but acknowledge that extinction is part of the cycle of evolution.

If a report issued in 2006 by the Census of Marine Life?conducted by more than 2,000 scientists in 80 countries?is any indicator, we will see a bumper crop of new animals in the years ahead, too. These discoveries, from the Hortle’s whipray to the Bali catshark, are partly the fruits of new technology like DNA bar coding, which allows scientists to use genetic differences to tell one species from another. But that isn’t the only reason: Evolution actually speeds up in the tropics, research has found, and global warming is making it happen that much faster.

About 50 million years ago?10 million years after the dinosaur’s demise?the planet went through a period called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in which temperatures rose 12 degrees in 10,000 years. That increase changed rainfall patterns and ocean acidity, causing a massive species extinction. But many species survived and evolved into their modern descendants. Right now might mark the very beginning of a similar period of every-species-for-itself, as plants and animals adapt to climate change with striking quickness.

Evolutionary biologist Shane Wright of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has shown that species evolve more than twice as fast in tropical zones as in temperate areas.

Invasive plants and animals can destroy an entire ecosystem, however, and many of the most adaptable animals?rats, cockroaches, jellyfish, mosquitoes?are not necessarily the most desirable neighbors. Weedy field mustard will outlast maple trees. Canadian squirrels, breeding sooner because of early springs, will outlast New Hampshire loons that neglected winter migration this year when lakes didn’t freeze as normal.

I found this to be an extremely interesting article.  Please click through here and read the entire piece.

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