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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
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.