November 23, 2017


Galapagos finches caught in act of becoming new species (Rory Galloway, 11/23/17, BBC)

In 1981, the researchers noticed the arrival of a male of a non-native species, the large cactus finch.

Professors Rosemary and Peter Grant noticed that this male proceeded to mate with a female of one of the local species, a medium ground finch, producing fertile young. [...]

In the past, it was thought that two different species must be unable to produce fertile offspring in order to be defined as such. But in more recent years, it has been established that many birds and other animals that we consider to be unique species are in fact able to interbreed with others to produce fertile young.

"We tend not to argue about what defines a species anymore, because that doesn't get you anywhere," said Prof Butlin.

Comic gold.

Posted by at November 23, 2017 5:24 PM


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