Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Evolution taking place on our doorstep

This fascinating BBC article reports on a paper by an international group of scientists, published in the journal Molecular Ecology. Apparently there are two distinct populations of killer whales in the seas around Great Britain, and it looks as though they're diverging into distinct species.

One group mostly eats fish, while the other eats seals, dolphins and small whales. The latter group seem to be more closely related to Antarctic Orcas, and the males grow to up to 2 metres longer than males of the fish-eating population.

"It's similar to how Darwin's finches have adapted to different ecological roles in the Galapagos, but on a larger scale," Dr Foote notes.

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