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marketrent OP t1_j5hyur5 wrote

Findings in title quoted from the linked summary^1 and its hyperlinked article^2 in PNAS.

From the linked summary:^1

>In the PNAS study, the researchers looked at 96 Anolis cristatellus lizards from three regions of Puerto Rico—San Juan, Arecibo, and Mayagüez—comparing lizards living in urban centers with those living in forests surrounding each city.

>They first confirmed that the lizard populations in the three regions were genetically distinct from one another, so any similarities they found among lizards across the three cities could be attributed to urbanization.

>They then measured their toe pads and legs and found that urban lizards had significantly longer limbs and larger toe pads with more specialized scales on their toes, supporting their earlier research that these traits have evolved to enable urban lizards to thrive in cities.

>To understand the genetic basis of these trait differences, the researchers conducted several genomic analyses on exomic DNA, the regions of the genome that code for proteins.

>They identified a set of 33 genes found in three regions of the lizard genome that were repeatedly associated with urbanization across populations, including genes related to immune function and metabolism.


>“Urbanization impacts roughly two-thirds of the Earth and is expected to continue to intensify, so it’s important to understand how organisms might be adapting to changing environments,” said Kristin Winchell, assistant professor of biology at NYU and the study’s first author.

>“In many ways, cities provide us with natural laboratories for studying adaptive change, as we can compare urban populations with their non-urban counterparts to see how they respond to similar stressors and pressures over short periods of time.”

^1 Urban Lizards Share Genomic Markers Not Found in Forest-Dwellers, 9 Jan. 2023, New York University.

^2 Winchell K., et al. Genome-wide parallelism underlies contemporary adaptation in urban lizards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2023. 120 (3) e2216789120.

ETA at 04:01 UTC:


marketrent OP t1_j5i0ii8 wrote

Note: it seems that direct links to and PNAS are being automatically removed. I’ll send a modmail.


Redditfuchs t1_j5jjmh5 wrote

Poor evolution deniers are going crazy.


Kidogo80 t1_j5joxnd wrote

I went to a religious high school in the US. They accepted and taught microevolution (such as in this article) but not macroevolution (such as an ape evolving into a human. Yes, that's an oversimplification, but makes my point). Just an FYI.


noideaman t1_j5kfqmt wrote

But. That’s just microevolution is just evolution!


Dark-Castle t1_j5kgq39 wrote

Yeah, macro evolution is just micro evolution but multiple times


Onithyr t1_j5lrt4x wrote

There is only one "objective" point of differentiation between "micro" and "macro" evolution: speciation.

But given that we have observed speciation events, and that ring species exist, it's pretty safe to say that macroevolution occurs.


sennbat t1_j5mjsrm wrote

Also, speciation isn't, like... Actually a real thing. Because species aren't a real thing. "Species" are just an arbitrary categorization and classification tool we use because it's, well, useful. Grouping things together is useful, but it's not really reality, evolution doesn't happen to species, it happens to lineages.


Onithyr t1_j5mkf6y wrote

Well, yes and no. There are certainly points of separation beyond which interbreeding either doesn't happen, extremely rarely happens, or results in a non-viable offspring.

This is one of the reasons I brought up the topic of ring species. They demonstrate an entire spectrum of interbreeding specimens, the ends of which either do not or cannot interbreed despite living in the same location.


Kidogo80 t1_j5l52cr wrote

Eh. I didn't write their science books.


TheRealSeaMoose t1_j5jo677 wrote

And it's crazy to assume that they're only evolving physically. As if animals/ species all around the world are incapable of evolving into improved intelligence either. It's arrogant as humans to believe that we're the only ones capable of complex thinking


MundanePlantain1 t1_j5j5eve wrote

They also have street smarts and prey on gullible back country lizards.


JanesPlainShameTrain t1_j5ja89f wrote

Yeah, my cousin came over from the family farm and was jumped by the Fiendish Frog Gang


StuartGotz t1_j5jlf7q wrote

I’ve always wondered about this with grey squirrels in the northeastern US, which are practically ubiquitous in the suburbs and in urban parks. With so much interactions with cars, people, buildings I wonder whether natural selection has changed their behavioral or physical characteristics


DreamPig666 t1_j5kowa9 wrote

I've always wondered about this, too.

In NYC there's a huge park called Forest Park that is actually comparable to Central Park in size, but is usually not known about or used outside of people in Queens generally.

Anyways, there's a huge chipmunk population there. Going to Central Park you would expect to see those famous chubby greedy city squirrels. But for some reason it's chipmunks in Forest Park.

Not sure what my point was specifically, now that I think about it, but I've always been curious why, because they really aren't far away from each other geographically.


troly_mctrollface t1_j5m64vt wrote

I can tell you urban squirrels are a lot less skittish then the squirrel in the wild


dbernard456 t1_j5k536p wrote

City is a new type of biome


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