The evolution of animal species is faster than expected

Populations of birds and mammals manage to adapt to changes within a few generations.

Lay eggs earlier in the spring to make the birth of the chicks coincide with the increasingly precocious activity of the caterpillars on which they will feed. Go on migration at the right time. Rebuilding a viable population after a large epidemic…

If they knew, since Darwin, that the species adapt to the pressure of their environment, the scientists did not suspect that this evolution generally occurred so quickly. In a study published Wednesday in the journal Sciencea team of researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra show that the rate of adaptive evolution, which they estimated for 19 populations of wild birds and mammals, was on average two to four times faster faster in recent decades than previously suspected.

“We were surprised by this result because most theories suggested that natural selection processes take place over very long times.underlines Timothée Bonnet, researcher at the ANU…

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