Ecology And Environment

Adaptation Leads to Evolution



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Change, it is one of the universal constants in life. No matter if one believes in evolution or that everything as created by a Supreme Being, you still have to admit that change occurs. The planet changes, at one time there were no polar ice caps and at one time those ice caps went all the way down to the tropics with New York being under thousands of feet of ice and snow.

Just as change is always happening, animals have to find new ways to survive and adapt to those changes. It is evolve or die, and one they can no longer evolve most creatures go extinct. They evolve in two basic ways, through physical adaptations and through behavioral modification or adaptations. The adaptations are often unique and impossible to predict.

Take coral reefs for example. Millions of years ago they were primarily deep water creatures, living in some cases thousands of meters beneath the seas. They filtered out the dead plankton that fell from above. But then over time there range became limited and situation slowly occurred, altering their biome. They changed. Some got bigger while others moved into shallower water to be closer to the rock shores. Those moving to shore found the clearer waters were nutrient poor, they adapted by becoming symbiotic with certain types of algae!

Bats were day creatures that climbed and lived in trees. They were slow and small, excellent prey for birds and creatures on the ground. Their hands elongated and became webbed. Their hearing increased and their vision adapted to more rods so they could travel at night. They now could fly and hear exceptionally well, but trees were not safe during the day, so most moved into caves. Why? Nobody really knows.

Pigs have adapted to numerous biomes, both physically and behaviorally. Some were once discovered stranded on a small island with limited water and food, They adapted their behavior by swimming and catching fish as well as crabs. Their bodies changed to a more streamlined shape to move better in the water. Unfortunately the pigs were later caught and eaten!

Birds bills change and can do so quickly, Darwin studied this and evolved the theory of evolution. When the physical adaption become permanent and encoded in the genetics, the species has evolved! This is a direct result of changing biomes!

And change is what everything is about. The world is changing and people need to change their habits or the changes may not be for the better. Some things, man included may be pushed beyond their ability to adapt, either physically or behaviorally, in which case they will join the dinosaurs!

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