Thursday, May 05, 2011

Un-Natural Selection -- How We Affect the Evolution of Other Species

Most of us understand the basic mechanism of natural selection: Those creatures that can adapt best to their changing environment survive to reproduce, and those individuals that can't die out.
It turns out that we've become our own unforgiving environment especially in the past century. While animal breeding may be the most pro-active example of man's conscious attempts to speed up the evolutionary proces, there are countless other examples of unnatural selection. From elephant tusks to resistant bacteria, this month's New Scientist lays out a long list showing how we've inadvertently changed the nature of the Flora and Fauna that surround us,

Millions of years ago, the natural environment was shaping us into the species we are now. Today, we create our own environments, which has its consequences for many other species. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Star Trek used to emphasize the premise that their planetary explorers should do nothing that would change the natural order of things wherever they landed. What would Captain Kirk say today?

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