From: Princeton University
Published December 4, 2017 08:31 AM

Study of Darwin's finches reveals that new species can develop in as little as two generations

The arrival 36 years ago of a strange bird to a remote island in the Galápagos archipelago has provided direct genetic evidence of a novel way in which new species arise.

On Nov. 23 in the journal Science, researchers from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Sweden report that the newcomer belonging to one species mated with a member of another species resident on the island, giving rise to a new species that today consists of roughly 30 individuals.

The study comes from work conducted on Darwin’s finches, which live on the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The remote location has enabled researchers to study the evolution of biodiversity due to natural selection under pristine conditions.

The direct observation of the origin of this new species occurred during field work carried out over the last four decades by B. Rosemary Grant and Peter Grant, a wife-and-husband team of scientists from Princeton, on the small island of Daphne Major.

 

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