But notice how the story is told in such a way as to pretend that some type of Darwinism is happening when maybe it isn’t. Darwin’s Potemkin village?
Once upon a time, all European crows looked alike:
Carrion crows and hooded crows are almost indistinguishable genetically, and hybrid offspring are fertile. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich biologists now show that the two forms have remained distinct largely owing to the dominant role of plumage color in mate choice.
Crows have divided Europe between them. Western Europe is the realm of the soot-black carrion crow, while the eastern half of the continent is home to the hooded crow, with its grayish black plumage. The boundary between the two populations—or more precisely, the hybrid zone where the two meet—is only 20 to 50 km wide, and in Germany, it essentially follows the course of the River Elbe. This is the only stretch of territory in which both of these species are found and successfully mate with each other. The plumage of the fertile offspring of these pairings is intermediate in color between those of their parents. The sharp demarcation between the two populations, however, clearly indicates that gene flow across the hybrid zone is restricted, which implies that hybrids are at a selective disadvantage.
But now, wait for it:
“Defining speciation as the buildup of reproductive isolation, carrion crows and hooded crows are in the process of speciation,” says LMU evolutionary biologist Jochen Wolf. He and his research team have now analyzed the genetic basis for the division of European crows into two populations. Indeed, the results of the study demonstrate that the old saying “birds of a feather flock together” really does apply in this instance: The only genes that differ significantly between the two variants are those involved in determining the color of the plumage. This suggests that each form preferentially mates with partners of the same color as themselves. The new findings appear in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. Ludwig Maximilian, “Researchers study corvid speciation in restricted zone where crow hybrids thrive” at Phys.org
In short, they are not separate species; they are “in the process of speciation,” which means that the process could be reversed at any time. Or maybe was never really happening.
The natural changes that would cause the populations to
This story raises
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See also: Is the Australian wild dog, the dingo, really a “unique species”? They want to protect the dingo, mainly for Australian cultural reasons. Fine. Why not just admit that instead of cooking up some nonsense about “speciation”?