Friday, June 26, 2009

Evolution is Faster in Warmer Climates

A New Zealand study has found that animals in warmer climates evolve faster than those in colder climates. The story, in TopNews, notes:
The idea that microevolution happens faster in warmer environments is not new. But, this is the first time the effect has been shown in mammals, which regulate their own body temperature.

“The result was unexpected,” said Len Gillman from Auckland University of Technology, who led the study.

“We have previously found a similar result for plant species and other groups have seen it in marine animals. But, since these are ‘ectotherms’ - their body temperature is controlled directly by the environment - everyone assumed that the effect was caused by climate altering their metabolic rate,” he added.

Scientists believe that this link between temperature and metabolic rate means that, in warmer climates, the germ cells that eventually develop into sperm and eggs divide more frequently.
In colder climates, there is more of a necessity to conserve heat, which uses more constitutional resources.

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