Saturday, September 15, 2007

Did predation drive speciation??

Some exciting new findings (of really really old stuff.. we're talking 550 million years here!) by scientists at Virginia Tech seem to suggest that a fantastic increase in species diversity at one point of our geological past (480 m.y.a in the Phanerozoic fossil record) might have been triggered by increasingly efficient predators. Now, before you get ideas about some furry, sabre toothed cats or ravenous T'rex's.. these predators are none of them. They appear to be marine organisms capable of drilling holes into shells with more efficient and stronger claws and jaws. Evidence collected from fossil victims of all this clawing and jawing coincide with the spurt in their species numbers. Now this could mean three things according to them - the predation drove speciation, diversity forced the predators to evolving newer and more efficient ways to crack them, or all this is due to some other factor which we still dont know. A previous study by Mark Wilson and Paul Taylor do seem to point towards the first criteria. Its going to be interesting to see the follow-up studies!

here's the link to the original article..Predation Linked To Evolution, Study Suggests

No comments: