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The Evolution Of The Italian Wall Lizard

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Asanga Seneviratne

on 30 May 2013

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Transcript of The Evolution Of The Italian Wall Lizard

BY ASANGA SENEVIRATNE THE EVOLUTION OF THE ITALIAN WALL LIZARD Early Days Ten adult pairs of Italian Wall Lizards are transported by scientists from their original home in the island of Pod Kopiste to the neighbouring island of Pod Mrcaru in 1971
Both these islands are located within the South Adriatic sea Evolution within the species which would usually take millions of years occurred in a mere 36 years.
The evolution of the Italian Wall Lizard is an example of divergent evolution.
This is the case because both the Pod Kopiste lizard and the Pod Mrcaru lizard share a common ancestor but have been separated and evolved in accordance to their environment to form two different species Evolutionary Changes When the scientists returned to the islands after 36 years they noticed stark differences between the lizards on Pod Kopiste and the lizards on Pod Mrcaru
The lizards on Pod Mrcaru had adapted to their new environment and had developed new characteristics not seen in the lizards on Pod Kopiste
The Changes The indigenous population of lizards on Pod Mrcaru had been completely wiped out and the lizards subsequently lost many of its territorial defences
The original Pod Kopiste lizards ate mainly insects and were not adapted to a vegetarian diet
The Pod Mrcaru lizard had evolved to have a larger gut so it could slow digestion and break down the tough cellulose around the plants it ate
The Pod Mrcaru lizard also developed a larger and wider head than the Pod Kopiste lizard as it had to bite harder and more powerfully to chew on plants
Plentiful food within Pod Mrcaru allowed the lizards to reproduce quicker than the lizards on Pod Kopiste and form a denser population Video Summary
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