Thursday, May 1, 2008

One Day, These Lizards May Enslave Us All

This handsome lizard plays a starring role in a very closely-observed and recent instance of evolution:

In just a few decades the 5-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) lizards have developed a completely new gut structure, larger heads, and a harder bite, researchers say.

In 1971, scientists transplanted five adult pairs of the reptiles from their original island home in Pod Kopiste to the tiny neighboring island of Pod Mrcaru, both in the south Adriatic Sea.

Genetic testing on the Pod Mrcaru lizards confirmed that the modern population of more than 5,000 Italian wall lizards are all descendants of the original ten lizards left behind in the 1970s.
In the span of only thirty generations, this race of super-lizards developed new morphological features, a new diet, and new behaviors in the process of wiping out the island's existing lizards.

I say it's a good thing scientists returned when they did.

1 comment:

Bpaul said...

Excellent catch, thanks for the post. I love stuff like this.