We understand how natural selection works, but we often think that it’s a process that requires a lot of time. While that’s mostly true, sometimes this process can happen much quicker, especially after a sudden disaster, such as hurricanes.
A study found that a family of lizards changed some of their traits after Hurricane Irma in 2017. Ecologist named Colin Donihue studied a local anole family of lizards before and after the eradication. His initial goal was to see if the anoles who survived Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria shared some physical traits.
What he ultimately learned was unexpectedly interesting: the lizards who survived managed to do that because they had larger toe pads than average, long front legs, and short back legs. They would hang on to something with their legs so the wind couldn’t take them away, in a similar fashion as the video below shows.
AGAINST THE WIND: How do lizards survive hurricanes? Harvard scientists dialed up a leaf blower to find out (no lizards were harmed) & the video is fascinating. https://t.co/ykK8cK9cbZ pic.twitter.com/4adxH5NTXv
— seth borenstein (@borenbears) July 25, 2018
This is the direct evidence of natural selection. The lizards that didn’t survive can’t pass their traits to the offspring, so the traits of the survivors will be those that the next generations will have. Fascinating, right?