Animal life by Carl W Hoagstrom

By Carl W Hoagstrom

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Of perhaps more interest than what happens among closely related members of a group and even between parent and offspring is the question of what motivates sacrifice on the part of an individual when no close relationship with the recipient exists—for example, a male animal coming to the rescue of an unrelated male animal who is being attacked by a third male of the same species. One theory maintains that these acts of personal sacrifice are performed on the chance that reciprocal sacrifice may occur at some future time.

Since the woodpecker finch does not have a long tongue, it has learned to use a cactus spine for insect probing, and it can therefore occupy a niche normally filled by true woodpeckers. A more recent example of adaptive radiation in its early stages has taken place in an original population of brown bears. The brown bear can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, ranging from the deciduous forests up into the tundra. During one of the glacier periods, a small population of the brown bear was separated from the main group; according to fossil evidence, this small population, under selection pressure from the Arctic environment, evolved into the polar bear.

Genetics of the Evolutionary Process. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970. Observations and interpretations of the genetics of natural populations. An insightful account of evolutionary genetics by one of the foremost authorities in the field. , and Charles Mitter. ” American Zoologist 34, no. 1 (February, 1994): 57-70. , and Kenneth J. Sytsma, eds. Molecular Evolution and Adaptive Radiation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. A collection of case studies in adaptive radiation, looking at both plants and animals.

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