Scientists believe they have an uncovered an evolutionary throwback in a rare deep ocean whale that washed ashore on a South Australian beach.
Previous research has suggested rapid or sudden environmental change often precipitate accelerated evolutionary adaptation and speciation. Now, scientists say the opposite is also true.
According to new research out of the Netherlands, slow or subtle environmental change slows evolution, leading to fewer adaptations.
With growing concerns about climate change and the ability of plants and animals to adapt, some scientists have questioned whether slowing down global warming would be beneficial.
“Fish which walks out of water and breathes on land for six days ‘could spell major disaster’ for wildlife in Australia”
A bizarre and seemingly super-powered fish which can walk out of water and breathe on land for up to six days could spell a ‘major disaster’ for wildlife, scientists have warned.
The aggressive climbing perch, which has lungs as well as gills, has been discovered in northern Australia.
In looking at snake genomes, serpent anatomy and new clues from early snake fossils, researchers at Yale concluded the earliest ancestral snakes lived on land, not in the water.
“Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturization in dinosaurs,” explained Professor Michael Lee, researcher at both the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum.
Lee is the lead author of the study, published in the journal Science.
“Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly,” Lee added. “Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins.”