According to a report created by the University of Chicago in Nature shows that the rate in which new species evolve and grow at is being hampered by the limitations of ecological places to actually live. The report suggests that when the ecological environment is not suitable for the growth of a new species, it seems to slow down or even stop in some cases. Is this something that we should be worried about?
Trevor Price PhD is the professor of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago worked alongside Dhananjai Mohan who works for the Indian Forest Service to create this report. Using songbirds which have resided in the eastern Himalayas for years due to this being the area with the highest diversity of songbirds on the planet, they wanted to find out what made the conditions so perfect.
With over potentially fifty million years of history as a species, there are now 5,000 different types of songbird across the globe with various styles, shapes and habits from one another. In the Himalayan area used as research, there are 461 different types of songbird found here alone including some extremely rare forms of songbird.
However, there appears to have been a significant halt in the rate of evolution of the songbird in this part of the world. While new species of songbird have been spotted elsewhere, there appears to have been a lack of new species spreading to this part of the world. The theory is that because of a tap already on the resources that songbirds look for, there is a lack of places they can settle and truly evolve and adapt to. Even though these birds can fly, they are unable to actually survive and persist in regions where there are scarce resources.
Even in a species as diverse as the songbird, there is significant evidence to support the theory that with little room left there is no space for a new species to evolve and grow further. As we continue to expand as species and force animals into smaller parts of the world, this could only become a bigger problem – could we be stifling the growth and evolution of countless animal life forms?