Caribbean, Caribbean Islands, Irma discussed on BBC Newsday



Irma hitting the Caribbean islands right now One of the most powerful storms ever Hurricane Maria has joined the growing list of major hurricanes to impact the Caribbean and the U.S. in recent weeks Hurricanes are researcher wondered what impact would that have on the lizards So he went down there again with his team and they found themselves in a sort of a case of scientific deja vu They were repeating the precise same study they had just completed 6 weeks earlier So now they're pulling every lizard off a tree holding it up against the ruler seeing how long it is Taking all of these measurements you know And they immediately saw this pattern in the data They saw that ones that had survived where the lizards with the largest pads on their toes And the ones with long strong looking front legs But these lizards back legs were measurably shorter Could these features have helped them survive the hurricanes An investigation was necessary Luckily they had planned ahead and brought with them to the Caribbean a leaf blower Hang on what makes you pack a leaf blower on a holiday to the Caribbean He did have a reason And the reason was this that you knew that to really understand this situation they were going to need to be able to observe lizard behavior in high winds And since you can't really stand there safely in a hurricane taking notes on lizards they decided to make their own hurricane by using the leaf blower Imagine the scene a small lizard perched on a stick on comes the leaf blower and they hold on for dear life To be clear no lizards were harmed in the making of this experiment they were caught in a soft net and released But what you can see is that large tool parts and strong front legs give some lizards a tighter grip When they do start to let go in their body starts flapping in the air like a flag smaller back legs reduce the drag and allow them to cling on and survive the hurricane So the survivors were those leathers with those characteristics and they passed those traits along to their offspring They checked other areas across the Caribbean and found wherever hurricanes were frequent these same characteristics were common Proof of evolution in action Evolution then does take place but it doesn't mean species are out of the Woods Evolution requires an animal to pass successful genes onto their children thus much easier for an aphid type of insect it can produce a new generation every 5 days Galapagos giant tortoises on the other hand need something like 25 years Evolutionary ecologist Anne charmont So the fact that different species particularly because of their lifespan are evolving at different rates it can create mismatches across the food chain Relationships which have remained studied for hundreds of thousands of years can get out of sync There's another problem And things that in the.

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