Charles Darwin considered evolution as an incremental course of, just like the affected person creep of glaciers or the march of continental plates. “We see nothing of those sluggish modifications in progress till the hand of time has marked the lengthy lapse of ages,” he wrote in On the Origin of Species, his well-known 1859 treatise on pure choice.
However by the 1970s, scientists had been discovering proof that Darwin could be fallacious—no less than concerning the timescale. Peppered moths dwelling in industrial areas of Britain had been getting darker, higher for mixing in towards the soot-blackened buildings and avoiding predation from the air. Home sparrows—launched to North America from Europe—had been altering dimension and coloration in accordance with the local weather of their new properties. Tufted hairgrass rising round electrical energy pylons was creating a tolerance for zinc (which is used as a coating for pylons and may be poisonous to vegetation).
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