Evolution allows species to adapt to their environment, so the species can fulfill a niche and live to procreate and carry on. Those species that didn’t evolve quickly enough and were not able to change their localized living spaces are no longer with us, or risk joining the list of endangered species and then, perhaps eventual extinction. Let us discuss how humans are modifying not only our own environment but the environment we share with other species and how that affects their adaptations and evolutionary procedure.
The research looks at the evolutionary changes that are being brought on by the way streets slice and dice our airplane.”
Amongst the four major ways our streets are messing with wildlife are:
Toxic Fumes from Vehicles
Changes in Sediment and Water Flow Run-off
But, for this list I want to add street noise, interfering in the hunting and evading process of character, and urban heat island effect. Additionally, hunting by humans, simpler access to animals that hangout near roads for road kill, heat, or water runoff – and poisoning by individuals who put out poisons to prevent rodents and gophers from digging borrows under the road way or into neighboring flood control levees and infrastructures. So, let’s call these:
Road Noise – Harder to hear predators or prey
There are lots of road Kill studies – Palm Bay FL Rat Removal one I often like to cite is by Sean Anderson of California State University Channel Islands in CA. One of his graduate students has a thesis of interest; “Web-Based Reporting System for Road Kill” which was a remarkably insightful project as to just how many animals are killed annually in rural areas in California. Those animals who avoid roads live to procreate, those who don’t often get smushed, providing protein for scavengers who take advantage of the new food supply – sometimes at their own peril.
Those animals that listen for automobiles, or watch attentively and react quickly survive and thrive, procreate and continue. Nocturnal Animals that don’t freeze in automobile headlights – well, they live and procreate too, those who don’t perish and become road pizza.
There have been many stories about Mountain Lions killed on Southern California Freeways – attempting to cross. You’d think a mountain lion could learn and be agile enough to escape the way – not so, as nothing they have ever encountered weighs 6,000 lbs. And chases after them at 60+ miles per hour, so they are not on the watch for cars. Even though some of the mountain lions labeled have routinely crossed freeways in CA, maybe they’re adapting and learning, teaching their young, maybe in 20-generations adaptations will begin to appear as they evolve for this new threat?
A recent statistical study showed that the normal point in the US is less than 1/2 mile from a paved street. Our wildlife has to adapt or die to deal with these changes in their surroundings. You can just imagine the many ways these and other issues are changing their evolutionary adaptation. Pigeons have adapted to live in the city, in parks, along with other species – completely changing the dynamics of their normal evolutionary process, simply because everything we do, affects something else. BTW – I’m not an environmentalist or an advocate for wildlife, but no one can deny what I’ve mentioned here today isn’t real.