Environmental changes and evolutionary changes
As I pointed out earlier, evolutionary change can continue even in the absence of environmental change, but its pace is likely to be slow because it primarily 'fine-tunes' the adaptation of organisms that are already well adapted to their environment. When environmental changes occur, they can spur the pace of evolutionary change and can also provide advantages to new adaptations that would not have been selected for in an unchanging environment. What will be the evolutionary effects of environmental change that we can expect in the future? To gauge the likelihood of such effects, we must begin by examining the evolutionary consequences of changes that took place in the past. Let us look first at completed evolutionary changes, in which the evolutionary consequences of an environmental change have been fully realized, and then examine ongoing evolutionary changes in which the evolutionary changes that result from environmental change have only begun to take place.
Continue reading here: Extreme evolutionary changes
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