Rate of Evolution

Indeed, the study led by Dr. Kong showed that in Iceland, there has been measurable genetic selection against the genetic variations that predict more years of education in that population just within the last century.
- DAVID REICH, How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’, NYT, MARCH 23, 2018

Not all species are adjusting to this warming at the same rate, and, as a result, some are falling out of step.

Scientists who study the changes in plants and animals triggered by seasons have a term for this: phenological mismatch. ...
In some cases, species might simply adapt by shifting their ranges, or eating different foods. But if species can’t adapt quickly enough, these mismatches could have “significant negative impacts,” said Madeleine Rubenstein, a biologist at the United States Geological Survey’s National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.
“If you look at the past history of climate on earth, there has never been such a dramatic, rapid, change in the climate,” said Andrea Santangeli, a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Museum of Natural History. “Species have to respond really fast,” he said, “that’s really unprecedented.”

Here are five examples of mismatch, just one of the many threats that species face from global warming, that scientists have discovered so far: ...
There is some good news for the snowshoe hare, however. Where evolution was previously thought to take millions of years, scientists now think an animal like the hare could adapt in five to 10 generations....
- Livia Albeck-Ripka and Brad Plumer, 5 Plants and Animals Utterly Confused by Climate Change, NYT, April 4, 2018

Many of the stones commemorate dead children, but there’s a memorial near the entrance that always stops me short. It’s dedicated to Mary West, a woman who died in 1865, at the age of thirty-two—two years before Joseph Lister published his groundbreaking work on antisepsis. The reason for her death is unrecorded. Beneath her own name are listed the names of her six children in their order of death—at ages two, eleven, four, twelve, and fourteen. Only one lived to adulthood. ...
The testimony of our graveyards is that before public health, clean water, antisepsis, and vaccination, it was perfectly natural that most children died.
- Gavin Francis, Resistance to Immunity, New York Review of Books, MAY 23, 2019

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