From National Geographic News: Brown anole lizards on tiny islands in the Bahamas were enjoying the good life, untroubled by a lizard predator found on larger islands nearby.
But all that changed when biologist Jonathan Losos (homepage) of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, appeared on the scene.
Losos’s team experimentally introduced predatory curly-tail lizards onto six islands where the ground-dwelling anoles had been living free of predators, sparking a see-saw year of natural selection.
For the smaller anole lizards, a trait that was advantageous in November – six months after the introduction – had become a liability by May.
…The evolutionary experiment, reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Science, reveals that, even though evolution can seem like a slow process, its driving force – natural selection – can shift like the wind.
The study also supports a somewhat controversial idea in biology: Animals’ behavior in response to environmental change can spur evolutionary adaptations.
Continued at “Evolution’s ‘Driving Force’ Shifts Based on Behavior, Study Says“
Based on the Science paper “Rapid Temporal Reversal in Predator-Driven Natural Selection“
Read Jonathan Losos’ paper “Adaptation and speciation in Greater Antillean anoles” (Open Access/Free)
See “Model of an Internal Evolutionary Mechanism” (Draft)
John Latter / Jorolat