Nifty Fifty Speaker and Book Fair Author Carl Zimmer Reports on Field Biologists Studying NYC Urban Evolution

i-991dfb0c70cf3d463709bcfea54b2687-Carl Zimmer Photo (1).jpgAT&T sponsored Nifty Fifty program speaker and widely acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer just published this very interesting New York Times piece on "...a small but growing number of field biologists who study urban evolution -- not the rise and fall of skyscrapers and neighborhoods, but the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them. For these scientists, the New York metropolitan region is one great laboratory." Carl brings to light recent findings on mice stranded on isolated urban islands that are evolving to adapt to urban stress, fish in the Hudson that have evolved to cope with poisons in the water and native ants that find refuge in median strips - all mutating in response to the pressures of city living.

What other animal species do you think have evolved to adapt to urban settings?

Read more about Carl Zimmer here.


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The obvious one is pigeons. Sure they haven't changed their physical appearance too much, but look at the work of Dmitry Belyaev and his silver foxes: he was breeding them for tameness, and he succeeded beautifully. Pigeon evolution in major cities is akin to that, and to early domestication of wolves tens of thousands of years ago, when they would sneak closer and closer to human dens to scavenge refuse.

By Freerefill (not verified) on 29 Jul 2011 #permalink