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Cause and Effect

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Evolutionary change responds to all kinds of pressures, and sometimes, the results can be surprising. On Gene Expression, Razib Khan challenges the idea that human evolution has stopped since “the vast majority of humans reach the age of potential reproduction.” He explains that differential mortality is not a precondition for natural selection, and supports his claim with data on human height and reproduction. In a separate post, Razib considers the feral dogs of Moscow, a pack of 35,000 with unique characteristics, such as the savvy to ride the subway. On Living the Scientific Life, GrrlScientist asks why some birds suffer the “tremendous sacrifices demanded by migration,” when suitable nesting ground is often closer at claw. New research suggests these birds may brave the inhospitable latitudes precisely because these harsh climes are less likely to support ravenous predators. And on Guilty Planet, Jennifer Jacquet wonders if Somali piracy has improved the catch by discouraging commercial fishing, a phenomenon which was previously witnessed after WWII. While wars and piracy may have unexpected upshots, Jennifer writes that if we just “left the ocean alone, fisheries would likely rebound.”

Links below the fold.

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