The public and scientific community have long debated the theory of evolution. However, over the past 40-years, researchers watched as a new bird species developed before their eyes. The finding should not spur further tension, but instead become a meeting point to relish in the amazement of the workings of the animal kingdom.
A study by scholars from Princeton University and Uppsala University finally proved fruitful after four decades at the Galapagos Islands, where Charles Darwin made some of his most inspiring discoveries back in the mid-1800s. The scientists found a new species, which they dubbed Big Bird. It evolved in as little as two generations, according to Science Daily. Their venture started in 1981, when a creature that significantly differed from the other birds on the island mated with local fowls, spawning a new lineage.
During each generation, the researchers drew blood samples of the offspring and recently conducted a DNA analysis of the ancestry. What they found was that the parent was a cactus finch from Española island, which is quite the distance from the area the scientists resided. The reproductive isolation caused the fowl to hybridize with three other finch classes.
The offspring failed to attract partners due to their abnormal song and were thus forced to inbreed, strengthening their kind and giving rise to a new species. The scholars were astounded by the promptness of the spawning of the new class. For example, they believe the various types of Darwin’s finches to have evolved from a single ancestor one to two million years ago. In comparison, Big Bird developed in a matter of just two generation.
The specialization of the Big Birds spurred as a result of competitiveness for food and resources, displaying the workings of natural selection on biodiversity. The term natural selection should be clarified, however, as many have used the term in contrast to its primary definition. According to the University of California Museum of Paleontology, this phenomenon causes changes in physical characteristics as a result of adapting to the given environment. For example, the beaks of Darwin’s finches have modified to suit the island’s challenging weather for purposes of higher rates of survival and reproduction.
The term does not denote the slaying of supposedly weaker members of society, but rather that those better fit to produce offspring and thrive more easily become the stronger members of the community.
The term has been misused by politicians wishing to push their bigoted agenda of aiming to eliminate those they view as less fit than the general population. As noted by the Creation Museum, Darwinism did, in fact, influence the Nazi Germany cause. The Nazis misrepresented the theory to further their hateful beliefs against Jews, the disabled, and others, deeming that slaying those they viewed as weaker members of society would strengthen the German race. Their views were outright fallacious and had nothing to do with actual natural selection.
The clear misrepresentation of natural selection depicts the importance of a thorough understanding of science. Although the theory is a significant advancement, it may be readily abused, and the public must be aware of these distortions.
The development of Big Birds has displayed that natural selection is a phenomenon that adheres to the workings of nature. The scientific community and general public commonly regard the theory of evolution as controversial, but the discovery may aid in finding common ground in the shared wonders of life and the animal kingdom.