Sorry, Creationists: Scientists Witness New Species Develop in Two Generations

Audrey Hill
November 26, 2017

"He was so different from the other birds that we knew he did not hatch from an egg on Daphne Major", Princeton zoology professor Peter Grant told Phys.org. It is, of course, easier to achieve the origin of a new species in a small island-like setting like Daphne Major in the Galapagos Islands. He sang a different song to the other birds, and his body and beak were unusually large compared to all the other birds. They tracked this lineage - which they dubbed the "Big Bird" lineage - for six generations, regularly taking blood samples for use in genetic analysis. According to a press release, in 1981 an interloper arrived on Daphne Major, a tiny island in the Galapagos archipelago where Peter and B. Rosemary Grant were studying Darwin's finches. The Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean is such a remote area that it is the ideal place to study evolution, biodiversity and natural selection.

Scientists have observed the creation of a new species of finch in record time.

"From generation 2 onwards the lineage behaved as an independent species", researchers from Princeton and Sweden's Uppsala University wrote as they reported their findings in the journal Science.

On a remote island called Daphne Major in the Galapagos chain, back in 1981, a team of researchers noticed a odd bird that didn't look like anything typically found on the island.

A Darwin's finch immigrated to an island in the Galapagos archipelago and began a new line of finch species with the local finch.

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It reports that researchers saw the finches mixing with other birds to create a third species, in what is thought to be the first example of speciation observed directly in the field.

Blood and DNA samples enabled researchers to discover that the odd new bird was actually a large cactus finch of the species Geospiza conirostris from EspaƱola island, more than 100 km (62.14 miles) away from Daphne Major. His species was from EspaƱola island.

The offspring were also reproductively isolated because their song, which is used to attract mates, was unusual and failed to attract females from the resident species. The assumption that it takes long stretches of time to create new species has been tossed out the window, and the ongoing study of the Big Birds revealed that it takes as little as two generations for an entirely new species to take root.

"We have no indication about the long-term survival of the Big Bird lineage, but it has the potential to become a success, and it provides a attractive example of one way in which speciation occurs", said Leif Andersson, a professor at Uppsala University.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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