Birds and mammals develop faster if their home is higher

Madrid, 2 September (Europe Press) –

The rise and fall of the Earth’s surface over the past three million years is certain evolution of birds and mammals, According to a new study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, combined reconstructions of changes in land surface elevation in the past three million years with data on climate change in that time period and with the locations of bird and mammal species. Their results reveal How species evolved into new species as land elevation changed, separating the effects of altitude from the effects of climate.

The study reveals that the effect of increased altitude is greater than that of historical climate change, and the effect of current altitude and temperature, in driving the formation of new species or ‘breeding’.

In contrast to the areas where Elevation and altitude loss is not an important factor in predicting where speciation will occur. Instead, the current temperature is a better indicator of speciation in these regions.

“frequently, On the tops of the mountains there are many unique species not found anywhere else. Whereas the formation of new species was previously thought to be driven by climate, We have found that changing altitude has a greater impact on a global scaleDr Andrew Tannintsab, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences, lead author of the work.

As the terrain increases, the temperature tends to decrease and the complexity of habitats increases. In some cases, for example when mountains are formed, the increase in height creates a barrier that prevents species from moving and mixing, So the population is reproductively isolated. This is the first step towards forming new species.

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The effect of increasing altitude on the rate of formation of new species over time was more pronounced for mammals than for birds; Researchers believe this is because birds can fly across barriers to find mates in other areas. Birds are most affected by the current temperatures. In birds, variation in temperature leads to differences in the timing and extent of mating, posing a risk to reproductive isolation from populations of the same species elsewhere.

To date, most large-scale studies of the importance of topography in generating new species have considered only the elevation of existing topography, or elevation changes in particular mountain ranges.

The effect that the historical change in altitude has had on global biodiversity generation is surprising.: They were more important than the traditionally studied variables, such as temperature. The rate of evolution of species in different places on Earth is closely related to topographical changes over millions of years, says Dr Javier Igea, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences, first author of this work.

and add that”This work highlights important scenarios for evolution. From a conservation standpoint, these are the places we have to protect, especially given climate change. “Although climate change occurs over decades, not millions of years, our study identifies regions that could host species with greater potential for evolution,” he concludes.

The researchers say that as the Earth’s surface continues to rise and fall, topography will continue to be a major driver of evolutionary change.

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