Anyone who hopes for great things from the possibility that evolution can work very quickly needs to read this:
Researchers at the University of Bristol have found that fast evolution can lead to nowhere.
In a new study of lizards and their relatives, Dr. Jorge Herrera-Flores of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and colleagues have discovered that ‘slow and steady wins the race.’
The team studied lizards, snakes, and their relatives, a group called the Lepidosauria. Today there are more than 10,000 species of lepidosaurs, and much of their recent success is a result of fast evolution in favorable circumstances. But this was not always the case. p1 Mr. Herrera-Flores explained: “Lepidosaurs originated 250 million years ago in the early Mesozoic Era, and they split into two major groups, the squamates on the one hand, leading to modern lizards and snakes, and the rhynchocephalians on the other, represented today by a single species, the tuatara of New Zealand. We expected to find slow evolution in rhynchocephalians, and fast evolution in squamates. But we found the opposite.”University of Bristol, “Fast Evolution Can Lead to Nowhere: Rapidly Evolving Species More Likely To Go Extinct” at SciTech Daily (November 10, 2021)
“In some cases, they can stabilize and survive well, but in many cases, the species go extinct as fast as new ones emerge, and they can go extinct, just like the napping hare. On the other hand, Simpson predicted that slowly evolving species might also be slow to go extinct, and could, in the end, be successful in the longer term, just like the slow-moving but persistent tortoise in the fable.”University of Bristol, “Fast Evolution Can Lead to Nowhere: Rapidly Evolving Species More Likely To Go Extinct” at SciTech Daily (November 10, 2021)
Of course, rapid evolution might be the outcome of experiencing greater stress in the first place. Anyway, it isn’t a magic formula.
The paper is open access.