Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Very Rapid Evolution Found in Isolated Lizard Population

National Geographic:
Italian wall lizards introduced to a tiny island off the coast of Croatia are evolving in ways that would normally take millions of years to play out, new research shows.

In just a few decades the 5-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) lizards have developed a completely new gut structure, larger heads, and a harder bite, researchers say.

....The rapid physical evolution also sparked changes in the lizard's social and behavioral structure, he said. For one, the plentiful food sources allowed for easier reproduction and a denser population.

The lizard also dropped some of its territorial defenses, the authors concluded.
More from PZ Myers.

This does confirm beliefs that most evolution occurs in isolated areas with small populations. The new animals with successful traits then radiate out from there.

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