Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rapid diversification despite morphological stasis: A snail's pace in a snail's place?

Date:
August 6, 2013
Source:
Ghent University
Summary:
Evolutionary biologists have found an unusual system that allows narrowing the gap in the study of evolutionary processes, working on living African freshwater snails and their fossil ancestors.

Evolutionary biologists at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution and Ghent University (Belgium) have found an unusual system that allows narrowing the gap in the study of evolutionary processes, working on living African freshwater snails and their fossil ancestors.

Species diversification regularly occurs too fast to be accurately recorded in the fossil record but usually too slowly to be readily observed in living organisms. The study of evolutionary radiations is thereby confronted with a gap between the timescales and approaches used by biologists and paleontologists. Although they are difficult to study some of these processes influence our daily lives in various ways. The emergence of pesticide or antibiotic-resistant strains of organisms are examples of rapid evolution, whereas the endangered status of species like the bluefin tuna result from the inability of these species to adapt sufficiently rapid to changing conditions.

Evolutionary biologists at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution and Ghent University (Belgium) have found an unusual system that allows narrowing the gap in the study of evolutionary processes. Working on living African freshwater snails and their fossil ancestors, they document rapid diversification since massive lake level fluctuations that occurred during the Ice Ages. Despite the ever changing environment in which these snails live, morphological characters studied within a lineage of fossils did not change much over five thousand years.

Different morphological characters appear to have behaved differently, with some hardly changing over thousands of years, and others, like body size, changing a lot (the smallest species is less than 1/3 of the size of the largest one). It appears that morphological stasis is a dominant evolutionary pattern, even in young and diversifying clades.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ghent University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ghent University. "Rapid diversification despite morphological stasis: A snail's pace in a snail's place?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806091648.htm>.
Ghent University. (2013, August 6). Rapid diversification despite morphological stasis: A snail's pace in a snail's place?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806091648.htm
Ghent University. "Rapid diversification despite morphological stasis: A snail's pace in a snail's place?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130806091648.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) — As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) — Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon

AP (July 18, 2014) — Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon. Speaking at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Aldrin described what he was thinking right before the historic walk. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins