May 06, 2011

NEWS: Fierce Anolis Lizard Evolution Fizzles

Anolis lizards colonized the Caribbean from South America some 40 million years ago and quickly evolved a wide range of shapes and sizes. "When anoles first arrived in the islands there were no other lizards quite like them, so there was abundant opportunity to diversify," said author Luke Mahler of Harvard University. 

Free from rivals in their new island homes, Anolis lizards evolved differences in leg length, body size and other characteristics as they adapted to different habitats. Today, the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico — collectively known as the Greater Antilles — are home to more than 100 Anolis species, ranging from lanky lizards that perch in bushes, to stocky, long-legged lizards that live on tree trunks, to foot-long 'giants' that roam the upper branches of trees. ...

By doing so, they discovered that the widest variety of anole shapes and sizes arose among the evolutionary early-birds. Then, as the number of anole species on each island increased, the range of new body types began to fizzle.

Late-comers in lizard evolution underwent finer and finer tinkering as time went on. As species proliferated on each island, their descendants were forced to partition the remaining real estate in increasingly subtle ways, said co-author Liam Revell of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC.  --
Here's my take on this story.  New information is no longer being expressed in animals.  Macroevolution has practically ended.  There was a long process of genetic information being 'unpacked' from the genomes of ancient plants and animals, but that unpacking has all but ended.  That means that evolution has slowed and is primarily microevolution and simple adaptations.  You will never see new, complex designs being formed in nature.  Never.  This 'fizzling' of evolution is precisely what I'd predict based on my understanding of created evolution.

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