Let’s Have a Look At These 5 Species Evolution Examples In Our Cities
Knock! Knock! Well, this is a wake-up call for us, so that we all realize that our every small action impacts the environment that we are living in. The following are a few instances of how our activities have actually helped in the evolution of a few species and how they have adapted to live in an urban jungle.
1) CROWS LEARN TRAFFIC LIGHTS TO EAT NUTS IN JAPAN
Crows cannot break the shell of a nut; however, this hasn’t stopped them from eating nuts in Japan. Carrion crows in Japan have come up with a novel plan to conquer their inability by literally learning traffic signals.
As the traffic light turns green, the crows drop their nuts, which are cracked open by the cars that run over it. As the traffic on the road comes to a halt, these crows very patiently approach their nuts. In another modification, these crows throw nuts at the pedestrian crossing, so that it is easy for them to go and grab it.
In another marvel, Parus major Songbird living in cities of Britain has evolved to grow longer beaks than its counterpart in the Netherlands. The beak length of these birds, on an average, has elongated by as much as 0.3mm. Scientists believe that the change is due to the bird feeders as longer beaks may be helping these birds to pick their food easily. It is also speculated that a longer beak allows birds to get the best seeds buried deeper in bird feeders.
Researchers estimate that people in the United Kingdom spends twice on birdseed than those in Europe. This therefore could have been a driving force for the evolution of longer beaks. In a research conducted, scientists attached electronic devices to these birds, to reveal that birds with longer beaks usually visited bird feeders more than those birds with shorter beak.
In a mind boggling study, it was revealed that ants living on the pavement of New York Cities have started eating more of junk food, such as pizza crusts and cookies.
These ants, which otherwise feed on fruits, dead insects and other raw materials, have absolutely no hesitation in eating processed ‘human food’.
Therefore, more urban habitat means higher intake of fast food by these ants. Research suggests that the ant communities are multiplying while feeding on ‘fast food’. However, just like humans, ‘fast food’ affects the health of these ants by snatching away nutrients and instead providing them harmful pesticides.
4) CITY DWELLER MONKEYS IN JAIPUR
Rhesus Macaques in Jaipur have adapted themselves to live in an urban environment. From stealing food in perfectly coordinated ‘gangs’ to jumping from one electric wire to other, these macaques have developed skills to feed themselves well in the cities. Evolution demands ‘survival of the fittest’.
Instances of these monkeys raiding agricultural fields, human homes and vegetable markets have been reported in the past. Moreover, people’s affiliation with monkeys in India is stronger due to their mention in ancient texts. So, these monkeys are spared, as they are considered to be a manifestation of God.
5) MOTHS CHANGING COLOUR IN BRITAIN
During the Industrial Revolution in Britain, black carbon soot particles were released into the air. These soot particles not only polluted the air but also changed the color of tree trunks and buildings to black.
Moths, that are otherwise light colored with a black texture on them feed on lichen and are perfectly camouflaged behind it, thus providing them protection from potential predators. However, at the time of industrial revolution, as the lichens died and tree trunks blackened, these moths became easily visible to the predators, which led to a rapid decrease in their population. However, these moths were quick to adapt to the new environment and scientists suggest that they worked on the Darwinian Theory of Natural Selection. So, now black colored moths multiplied quickly as they could camouflage themselves against a black surface. Furthermore, as the situation in Britain recovered, these moths again changed to light color. Another classic example of evolution!
By the way, check out this new fish species discovered in caves.