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Another observation of incipient speciation in the wild Answered

A report in Science News this week reports on observations of German blackcaps, which are apparently splitting into two separate, non-reproducing populations, and which are developing distinct appearances along the to becoming separate species. 

Since the 1960s, the two populations have developed different wintering migration habits: the original blackcaps migrated from Germany to Spain and back again, while the new population overwinters in England(!), relying on the vast number of backyard feeders (yes, this is all your fault, Kiteman!).  Yet another beautiful example of careful observation in the wild of natural selection and its consequences.

Discussions

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kelseymh
kelseymh

10 years ago

One of the nice asides in the Science News article was the brief discussion of how migratory routes are genetically hardwired (no, we don't know exactly how) and that they must include multiple genes:  hybrid siblings of parents with different migratory patterns tend to take a route intermediate between their parents'!

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Kiteman
Kiteman

10 years ago

This has been reported in several places in the last few days in the UK.

The BBC even found a biologist to put a climate-change spin on the findings.

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lemonie
lemonie

Reply 10 years ago

That's a good addition to the topic.

L

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lemonie
lemonie

10 years ago

Yes, and they tend not to stop feeding the critters in spring / summer. Complain about rats / squirrels / pidgeons / insects? - stop putting bird-food out then.

L