The Daily Scoop: How Climate Change Has Driven Evolution


Two articles today on the Daily Scoop on the topic of how climate change has and is impacting evolution.

Conditions of Life: How Climate Change Has Driven Evolution
We are the products of our environment — and that goes for egrets and  elephants as much as human beings. The history of all life on this planet has  been one of change and adaptation. The environment changes, and life adapts.  That’s evolution in a nutshell.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that as the planet’s climate has changed  through the geologic past — and it’s changed severely, from the hot and humid earth of the  Triassic period to the ice ages that ended just 20,000 years ago — life has  changed along with it. In a new paper published in the Proceedings of the  National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a group of researchers  plot out just how the changing climate has impacted mammalian evolution in  North America over the past 65 million years. They find that there have been six  distinct waves of species diversity, and that the driving force of those waves  has likely been climate change.
Read more…

World-first hybrid shark found off Australia
Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world’s first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan.
Read more…

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2 Comments to “The Daily Scoop: How Climate Change Has Driven Evolution”

  1. I don’t know who Bryan Walsh – the author of the first article – is but he needs to dig deeper than the first paragraph in Wikipedia for his facts.

    The last ice age didn’t end 20,000 years ago as he writes.

    The last Ice Age lasted about 100,000 years. It peaked about 18,000 years ago, and ended a little over 11,000 years ago.

    Right now we are in an interglacial warming period and most recently are rebounding from the “little ice age” that peaked between 1600CE and 1800CE during the Maunder Minimum..

  2. “The last ice age didn’t end 20,000 years ago as he writes.”

    He may have been referencing sources similar to these;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Maximum
    http://coastalchange.ucsd.edu/st1_thenandnow/modeling.html

    And it seems that the Little Ice Age is not considered a real or technical ice age (if that was what you were implying).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
    http://holocene.meteo.psu.edu/shared/articles/littleiceage.pdf
    “While there is evidence that many other regions outside Europe exhibited periods
    of cooler conditions, expanded glaciation, and significantly altered climate conditions, the timing and nature of these variations are highly variable from region to region, and the notion of the Little Ice Age as a globally synchronous cold period has all but been dismissed”

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