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Darwin's Theory Gets Scientific Backing, According To Canadian Study

By Nikki Weingartner     Apr 6, 2008 in Science
A genesis study coming out of the Canada has substantiated, and possibly advanced the Origin of Species with its findings that altering a single factor within the environment could be the “start up” for speciation.
University of British Columbia’s post-doctoral fellow Patrik Nosil recently published his study findings in PLoS One, stating that the study shows strong evidence that even a single trait, like color, could begin the process of transforming an entire species into a new species.
Nosil’s study research included the observation of the walking-stick in the southern tier of California, which is an insect that does not fly, is found on a multitude of different plants and exists in different “eco-types”, or adaptations to their host plant.
According to the report, Nosil removed some of the walking sticks from their adapted host plants and placed them on foreign plants. He then protected other walking sticks from their natural predators, to extend their life. The results were exciting.
Nosil’s study found that this simple displacement in the color pattern could “initiate” speciation, a different take on Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the cause of adaptation. Current research’s primary focal point has been on genetic and geographical factors as the driving forces behind speciation.
In response to this study being the next step on Darwin’s staircase, Nosil says
"As far as advancing Darwin's theory that natural selection is a key driver of speciation, this is the first experiment of its kind done outside of a lab setting. The findings are exciting,”
In general, speciation is the evolution, or creation, of a new species of organism, where the dividing line from one species to the next is reproduction and the ability to produce viable offspring (viable meaning having the ability to reproduce as well). For example, cats and dogs cannot produce offspring so they are of a different family. A horse and a donkey are of the same family and can reproduce offspring (mules), but they are sterile and therefore considered not viable.
Sea Bass and Freshwater Bass are of the same family and can reproduce offspring, called a Striper Bass, but they are sterile, hence not viable. Therefore, for study association, speciation involves species within their own families that are capable of adaptation and viable reproduction of offspring.
This comes closer to explanation of the speciation of the rattlesnake, with its smaller rattle. Theories say that adaptations of smaller buttons are due to the larger rattles being the reason for the killing off of the other rattlesnakes.
More about Darwin, Adaptation, Speciation