Global Warming may cause new species to evolve

Posted on September 3, 2008. Filed under: News, Science & Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

African Buffalo

African Buffalo

According to a report in the Scotsman, the future loss of lakes and rivers in

Africa would influence how species such as buffalo and elephants evolve. Large populations of animals, which need water to survive, could be divided and, over time, evolve into new species to cope their new surroundings. An isolated population of buffalo, unable to interbreed with others, might evolve to the size of small elephants in the future, in order to accommodate a larger stomach. Alternatively, it might develop huge, long legs to carry them further distances to water and better food sources. Researchers at Edinburgh University studied the loss of rivers and lakes in Africa millions of years ago, when forests dried to grassland. They have shown that groups of animals became isolated from one another over large distances by the need to stay close to a watering hole, lake or river. According to Julian Derry, of Edinburgh University’s School of Biological Sciences, the findings suggest that modern-day climate change may lead to an increase in the number of species in Africa, just as it did millions of years ago

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