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Science

Roadkill Forcing Cliff Swallows To Evolve 387

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the also-evolved-laser-eyes dept.
sciencehabit writes "Cliff swallows that build nests that dangle precariously from highway overpasses have a lower chance of becoming roadkill than in years past thanks to a shorter wingspan that lets them dodge oncoming traffic. That's the conclusion of a new study based on 3 decades of data collected on one population of the birds. The results suggest that shorter wingspan has been selected for over this time period because of the evolutionary pressure put on the population by cars."
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Roadkill Forcing Cliff Swallows To Evolve

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  • Re:Tricky EIRs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:00PM (#43210391)

    No. The change is likely morphological rather then genealogical. As a result they will stay the same species, just like dogs do.

  • Re:lies, all lies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:06PM (#43210425)

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/hold-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx

    "Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God's guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process."

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:43PM (#43210597) Homepage

    Squirrels. They used to zig-zag back and forth (can't make up their mind) and get crushed. Now, they either wait patiently or bolt across the road when everything looked all in the clear.

    But yes, it would seem the indecisive critters got weeded out.

  • Re:Tricky EIRs (Score:4, Informative)

    by cusco (717999) <brian...bixby@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @01:55PM (#43216093)
    Depends on which definition of 'species' you use. Grizzly bears and polar bears can physically interbreed, but they don't. Are they the same species? Some biologists will say yes, others will say no. Species is one of the messier words in science.

    BTW, **NINE** digits of years? 100 million or more? Only three million years ago we were Australopithecenes, do you actually think Homo Sapiens haven't made 'long term' changes in the interim? 70 million years ago we were rat-sized egg-laying insectivores, are you really sure that we haven't changed significantly since then?
  • Re:Tricky EIRs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zalbik (308903) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @02:09PM (#43216249)

    Just wondering how long it will take you to realise that none of these changes make them different species.

    That's what I thought too, but then I actually looked it up [wikipedia.org] and found the GP is actually right. Two groups of animals can be morphologically the same, but still considered different species due to natural inhibitions against interbreeding.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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