Though the moths are typically a mottled black-and-white color, scientists in England at the time of Queen Victoria began seeing increased numbers of all-black moths following the start of the Industrial Revolution. Studies later showed that the moths had benefited from the black color because they were better able to camouflage themselves against the trunks of soot-stained trees. Later research also showed that, as air quality improved, the moths’ evolution reversed course, and the number of black insects fell dramatically.
So the article goes on to show that the quick evolution and then reversal of the moths actually occurred because of environmental factors. What’s important here – the take away – is that we shows that a species is able to develop responsive genetic mutations, in a quick time, and promulgate the species. Imagine if this had gone one for many generations of these moths… and that’s how we get evolution.
Prolonged adaption will lead to a permanent change…
- Were you taught that black and white moths are evidence of evolution? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- 8 Examples of Evolution in Action (listverse.com)
- Classic sooty-moth tale bolstered by new results (junkscience.com)
- Fossil moths show their true colors (eurekalert.org)
- Global warming is redirecting ladybug evolution (io9.com)