Aug 12 2009

A Snapshot of Evolution in Action

Published by at 10:01 am under birds,evolution

Some who doubt evolution say there is a lack of proof. What they want is one slam-dunk piece of evidence of evolution occurring. Trouble is, like the motion of flip-book images, a single page, a single piece of data, will never encapsulate the whole of a dynamic process.

Take this photo of evolution in action [source]:

It’s just a bird, right? Well, yes, but it is also a likely “transitional form.” Two populations of one bird species are undergoing a plumage divergence. And that change is likely heading down the road to speciation.

In the article Study Catches Two Bird Populations As They Split Into Separate Species you will read:

The question of whether these two populations are on the road to speciation comes down to sex. When two populations stop exchanging genes—that is, stop mating with each other—then they can be considered distinct species. Uy and his team wanted to see if these flycatchers were heading in that direction.

One crucial bit of “evidence” that speciation is likely occurring consists not of a single photo or of a preserved skeleton or of anything you can hold in your hand. The evidence is bird behavior. Behavior.

That males from the two populations no longer view the other as a reproductive threat is a good indication that not much mating is taking place between the two groups. Their evolutionary paths are diverging, Uy and his team found—all because of a change in plumage.


While science does take more effort to comprehend than the blind acceptance of religious claims, the payoff is immense.

One comment

One Comment to “A Snapshot of Evolution in Action”

  1. Miranda Haleon 12 Aug 2009 at 9:22 pm

    So fascinating & wonderful!

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