Humans wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for evolution. However, if you thought this process was a thing of the past, you might want to think again. It’s something that’s always ongoing, and while it generally takes centuries for things to really change, some animals are evolving faster than expected.
Animals evolve for several reasons. In the case of the green anoles, it was because their habitats were taken over by an invasive species – the brown anoles. Unable to put up a proper fight for their territory, the green lizards moved to the higher branches of the trees they live on. However, these branches are weaker and smoother than what the creatures were used to, which meant adapting was essential. Fortunately, the animals have done that in the space of just 15 years. Throughout that time, they’ve developed thicker toepads and stickier scales so that clinging to the branches is easier than ever.
If you have a mouse problem in your home, you’ll likely combat it in a number of ways. Many people attempt to end these animals’ lives through the use of traps and poisons. However, the latter isn’t a guaranteed success now that there are poison-resistant house mice. These creatures are apparently the result of a house mouse breeding with an Algerian mouse. Although hybrid animals usually can’t reproduce, that hasn’t been the case here, resulting in super mice. Their numbers have been growing, and these animals don’t succumb to the effects of Warfarin, a common poison used to eliminate rodent infestations. That’s thanks to the Algerian mouse being resistant to poison itself.
Mexican blind cavefish
Each of our senses serves a purpose, but what if one of them becomes redundant? That’s a question that one underwater species, now known as the Mexican blind cavefish, had to ask itself. These creatures live in the dark, so vision isn’t much use to them. That’s why they’ve evolved to get rid of their eyesight, with other senses strengthened as a result. This is apparently the result of epigenetic change, with the cavefish simply switching their eye development genes off.
Climate change is impacting many animals in a lot of ways, to the point that it’s apparently causing some of them to evolve. Finnish tawny owls are typically brown or pale gray, with the latter initially benefiting from the country’s snowy climate. However, with Finland now receiving less snowfall due to climate change, this is no longer the case. The gray birds can’t blend into the snow and hide from predators, meaning they’re being hunted more than their brown counterparts. As a result, the population is increasingly becoming one color as the brown genes get passed down more frequently.
People usually aren’t fortunate to see the effects of evolution during their lifetime. However, with these animals evolving faster than expected, we’ve already seen some of them change significantly in a matter of years. It makes one wonder whether other creatures will start to follow suit and also switch things up before long.