Posted by: zyxo | December 30, 2009

Runaway Ecosystems : species extinction or accelerated evolution ?


Wind dispersal of dandelion seeds.
Image via Wikipedia

As a result of global warming, our ecosystems are running away at a speed of 420 meters per year.   That is about 500 human paces, 1.5 per day.

What does that mean ?

At first sight this is not a big deal.  What is 420 meters ?  This is only 42 kilometers in 100 years ! The animals and plants just have to follow !

Wait !

The animals, perhaps they can follow, they can walk, fly, crowl, dig …

What about the plants ? If they are lucky to have mechanisms like dispersing of their seeds by wind, or by birds (seeds in fruits), they should manage it.

No, Wait !

What if there are obstacles ?  Like seas, streams, mountains ?  Neither animals nor plants can follow their ecosystem, because the ecosystem will cease to exist.  An ecosystem that follows its preferred temperature and hits the seashore, will simply drown in the see.  You ever saw a forest crossing a sea?

What is the alternative ?

Adapt or die !
Species that follow their ecosystem do this because at the back end the environment becomes a bit too difficult to live in.  But when their ecosystem hits the sea, all that will stay behind is this unfavorable environment.  The only solution is to adapt to this new environment.  Which means : evolution, as quick as possible, before the environment becomes to harsh.

So I predict that we will witness accelerated evolutions going on all over the world.

Did you enjoy this post ?  Then you should read the following :
Human evolution : amazingly fast
The direction of evolution : speed matters
Evolution can occur in less than 10 years
The chicken or the egg ?

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