Urban living breeds new kinds of creatures

A joint study by American and Canadian scientists showed that the urban environment over the past century has become a powerful evolutionary mechanism. From all over the world, information is collected about the fixation of mutations in animals that help them survive in human cities.

Chaffinch beaks in England have been modified to fit standard feeders. A new species of mosquito has been found in sewer tunnels under American metropolitan areas. Puerto Rican crested lizards have grown long, tenacious fingers - scientists disagree on why. And in the Chinese reservoirs they began to catch fish, which do not care about pesticides and nitrates, which are used in agriculture and are washed off into rivers.

In living nature, the rate of appearance of new mutations is relatively low, but near industrial facilities there is such a level of various pollution that this process is accelerated many times. For a conditional thousand dead mutants, there is always a surviving individual that will give offspring. And since territories inhabited by humans are often blocked off by roads, walls and canals, isolated zones are created in which new species of living beings are quickly formed.

Scientists call the main factors of urban evolution: artificial lighting, man-made tunnels (as a habitat), replacement of natural soil with concrete and asphalt, the presence of a wide range of pollution with a mutagenic factor. The world has finally entered the era of the Anthropocene, when it was human actions that became the flywheel of evolution. Just do not delude yourself - we do not control this process of genetic shift by one iota, but only observe some of its manifestations.