[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Rapid Lizard Evo

Got this link off littlegreenfootballs blog (blog members are called lizoids):


Italian wall lizards introduced to a tiny island off the coast of Croatia are 
evolving in ways that would normally take millions of years to play out, new 
research shows.

In 1971, scientists transplanted five adult pairs of the reptiles from their 
original island home in Pod Kopiste to the tiny neighboring island of Pod 
Mrcaru, both in the south Adriatic Sea. Genetic testing on the Pod Mrcaru 
lizards confirmed that the modern population of more than 5,000 Italian wall 
lizards are all descendants of the original ten lizards left behind in the 

While the experiment was more than 30 years in the making, it was not by 
design, according to Duncan Irschick, a study author and biology professor at 
the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

After scientists transplanted the reptiles, the Croatian War of Independence 
erupted, ending in the mid-1990s. The researchers couldnât get back to island 
because of the war, Irschick said.

In 2004, however, tourism began to open back up, allowing researchers access to 
the island laboratory. âWe didnât know if we would find a lizard there. We 
had no idea if the original introductions were successful,â Irschick said.

What they found, however, was shocking.