Scientists finally proved one of Darwin’s theories of evolution

Scientists finally proved one of Darwin’s theories of evolution – almost 140 years after his death. Research has proven that subspecies of animals do play a key role in their evolution. This is stated in the work of biologists from the University of Cambridge, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

A species is a group of animals that can freely interbreed. Some species contain subspecies – populations within the species that differ from each other in that they have different physical features and their own breeding areas.

For example, northern giraffes have three subspecies that usually live in different parts of the same region, and foxes have the most subspecies – 45 known species – that are common around the world. People have no subspecies.

According to Darwin’s theory, the species diversity of animals is inextricably linked to how many subspecies of various fauna representatives were. As a rule, the more species are found in a particular animal species, the more relatives they had inside the genus to which they belonged.

To test this theory, researchers analyzed data collected by naturalists over several hundred years.

“In the second chapter of the Origin of Species, Darwin writes that the genus of animals in which there are a large number of species should contain more“ variations ”of these species. We have shown that subspecies do play an important role in the long-term evolution of mammals”.

Laura van Holstein, lead author of the study

As a result, they were able to prove that evolution occurs differently in terrestrial and marine mammals and bats due to differences in their habitat and in their ability to move freely.

“We found that evolutionary relationships between mammalian species and subspecies vary depending on their habitat. Subspecies are formed and diversified in different ways: for example, if a natural barrier, such as a mountain massif, prevents them from moving freely, it can separate groups of animals and send each of them along its evolutionary path. On the other hand, bats and marine mammals, such as bats and dolphins, have fewer physical barriers in their environment”.

Laura van Holstein, lead author of the study

Scientists are now researching the results to determine whether they can be used to predict the rate of speciation from endangered species and non-endangered species.

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