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Old 24th September 2016, 07:38 PM   #1
Mark6
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Evolution in cities

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/24/op...e-thought.html

Quote:
With urban environments expanding all over the world, wildlife and biologists alike are starting to treat the city as a true ecosystem. Many species’ original habitats are being squeezed into annihilation. For them, it’s adapt or die. And field biologists like me are following suit. As we have to travel ever farther to find untouched wilderness, we are beginning to realize that the expanding urban sprawl is perhaps not something to be depressed about, but rather something very exciting, as entirely novel forms of life are evolving right under our noses.
Very informative article about animals (and some plants) rapidly evolving to adapt to urban environment.
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Old 24th September 2016, 07:53 PM   #2
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I recall a classic case of moths getting darker in England post Industrial Revolution as soot and dirt made light-colored moths stand out, which made them more vulnerable to prey.
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Old 24th September 2016, 07:54 PM   #3
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth
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Old 24th September 2016, 07:59 PM   #4
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Moths are a well-known example, but now there are many others.
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Old 24th September 2016, 08:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Thanks.

I probably knew of them via one of Dawkins' books.
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Old 24th September 2016, 08:42 PM   #6
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In Melbourne there was a pair of Peregrine Falcons who nested on the the 33rd floor of Optus House at 367 Collins St in the middle of the city from 1991 to at least 2015.

Plenty of food (pigeons, mice, rats, seagulls, babies) so there was no lack of resources. Just more evidence that if there is a survival niche, it will be filled by whatever species finds it first.

I Have just tried to find out if they're still there, but can't be sure. Last reported sighting was March 2015.


A high rise building is as good as a cliff to them!

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Old 25th September 2016, 01:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fast Eddie B View Post
Thanks.

I probably knew of them via one of Dawkins' books.
I believe he goes into a little bit of detail in The Blind Watchmaker.
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Old 25th September 2016, 01:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
In Melbourne there was a pair of Peregrine Falcons who nested on the the 33rd floor of Optus House at 367 Collins St in the middle of the city from 1991 to at least 2015.

Plenty of food (pigeons, mice, rats, seagulls, babies) so there was no lack of resources. Just more evidence that if there is a survival niche, it will be filled by whatever species finds it first.

I Have just tried to find out if they're still there, but can't be sure. Last reported sighting was March 2015.


A high rise building is as good as a cliff to them!

Norm
These Falcons haven't evolved much, precisely because a building is indeed like a cliff, and what works for one works for the other. But are there other creatures evolving features relevant to city life? Those city creatures, the pigeons, look pretty much like their "rock dove" ancestors, because again of the similarity between buildings and cliffs; but what about the fox? Urban foxes do less hunting and more scavenging than their rural cousins. Will they evolve into smooth-haired omnivores like the feral dogs of African villages?
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Old 25th September 2016, 07:35 AM   #9
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Our university is home to a variety of "urban wildlife". We have the usual run of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and songbirds of all kinds, but also fox, racoon, possum, hawks, and similar larger species.

Hard to say the degree that these critters are evolving to adapt to this environment, but I did spot a fox a few years back walking down the sidewalk, marking each tree just like a dog....
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Old 25th September 2016, 09:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Our university is home to a variety of "urban wildlife". We have the usual run of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and songbirds of all kinds, but also fox, racoon, possum, hawks, and similar larger species.

Hard to say the degree that these critters are evolving to adapt to this environment, but I did spot a fox a few years back walking down the sidewalk, marking each tree just like a dog....
Largest urban species here is probably the roe deer, which have, surprisingly, adapted quite well. They like cemeteries, motorway verges and railway embankments.
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Old 25th September 2016, 09:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mark6 View Post
Moths are a well-known example, but now there are many others.
Culex pipiens molestus, the London Underground mosquito is my favourite. Though they can be found in New York (at least until the yaks get them) and Tokyo too. In fact the world's subway systems are often thriving ecosystems. Though maybe the feral Cybermats will deal with the nastier pests...
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