Early onset of winter triggers evolution towards smaller snow voles in Graubünden From University of Zurich

In Graubuden, Switzerland the voles are getting smaller as a result of colder winters. It was found that the smlaller voles are more fit to survive. This could be because smaller voles hae smaller offpring that will reach maturity sooner than larger voles and will be better equipped for the winter. This demonstrates natural selection and evolution and it is happening in our lifetime.

This adaptation is due to anthropogenic effects and rapid environmental changes in the voles' habitat. This evolutionary improvement could not have been detected with the usual tests and evaluations used to observe changes; instead scientists should focus on adaptive evolution to determine slight changes in animal behavior and traits.

I picked this article because I found it very intereesting that the snow voles are adapting fast enough for us to notice. Climate change has a drastic effect on animals and this article proves it. Because scientists have become trained to look for signs outside of the usual tests, they are discovering new changes in the traits of these animals. It is a reminder to always think outside what others have told us to; without this the scientists studying the voles would have never noticed the evolutionary change happening right before our eyes.

By Ali Mann

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Ali Mann
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Created with images by cocoparisienne - "branch winter snow" • Tomi Tapio - "Tunnels, dude! Tunnels!"

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