Evolution is a continuous process by which a species adapts to its changing environment. The English naturalist Charles Darwin extended this simplistic understanding to say that species evolve by natural selection, which leads to genetic changes in individuals that favor survival and reproduction of the same traits. It also means that different species arose from one species in an effort to adapt to the changing environment. However, the rate at which evolution occurs is critically dependent on genetic differences between individuals. Now, new research suggests that Darwinian evolution could happen four times faster than previously thought.
Based on the analysis of genetic variation, the researchers stated that evolution could occur faster if there were more genetic variations in a species. This is because certain traits die and establish stronger traits. The researchers wanted to know how much “evolution fuel” is in wild animal populations.
This study is the first time that the pace of development has been systematically evaluated on a large scale, rather than on an ad hoc basis. With climate change expected to accelerate in the coming years and bring about serious changes to our environment, the researchers hope their study will help predict how quickly animals adapt. This, in turn, will help researchers understand which species will be viable and which will not.
The team, from the Australian National University and the University of Exeter (UK), studied data on 19 different groups of wildlife around the world to come to their conclusion, which they published in the journal. Sciences.
Research leader Dr Timothy Bonet of the Australian National University says the evolution process described by Darwin has been very slow. “However, since Darwin, researchers have identified many examples of Darwinian evolution occurring in just a few years,” said Dr. Bonnet.
He also cited the example of the spotted moth, which was predominantly white in the UK before the Industrial Revolution. With the pollution spreading black soot on trees and buildings, Dr. Bonnet said, black mites had an advantage in terms of survival because birds couldn’t see them. Because the color of the moth influenced the likelihood of survival and was determined by genetic differences, the black moth quickly dominated the population in England.
The findings, according to the researchers, have consequences for predicting a species’ ability to adapt to environmental change. Dr. Bonnet said the research showed that evolution cannot be ignored as a process that allows species to survive in the face of environmental change.
With climate change expected to accelerate, there is no certainty that these populations will be able to keep pace with climate change. However, Dr. Bonnet added that evolution was a much more intrinsic driver than had previously been seen in the ability of a population to adapt to contemporary environmental changes.