November 11, 2019
In the face of the climate crisis there have been many changes in ecosystems, although there has never been a documented case of evolution in a wild animal population in response to climate change. A population of wild red deer living on the Isle of Rum in Scotland has now changed this.
An international team of researchers from the Australian University and the University of Edinburgh have investigated five decades of data about Rum’s red deer population. By examining this data, they have discovered that on average the deer are giving birth earlier, at a rate of roughly three days per decade in response to the warming climate.
The team has also shown that natural selection has impacted the deer’s genetic makeup, providing a selective advantage to deer that give birth earlier. Natural selection has led to there being more genes for breeding earlier in the Rum deer population over time. By observing evolution as it happens the team have been witness to the impact of man made climate change on a wild population.
Source: Yahoo News
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