Microevolution                                                      Mutatio minutus


I once talked to a creationist who did not believe in macroevolution, but believed microevolution because he could observe it. As an example he said, “When my skin gets exposed to the sun, it tans.” Needless to say, there is a vast misunderstanding of microevolution in our world today. Both micro and macro evolution depend upon the passing of genes through several generations, but main difference between them is timescale. Microevolution accounts for the flux of allele distributions in current populations. One of the most noted examples of microevolution is that of the peppered moth. In the early 19th century, the majority of the population expressed the light form, while there were few individuals which carried and expressed the dark coloration. The light form at that time worked well to camouflage the majority of the population against lichen covered trees which protected them from predators (above). With the onset of the industrial revolution, pollution swept through a vast majority of English forests covering trees in soot and killing off the lichen. This drastically changed the allele distribution among the moth population. The lighter moths were picked off by predators, but the darker moths were now camouflaged by the sooty trees (below) and were able to propagate. This type of flux, or adaptation, when compounded several generations over a long period of time, could create a divergent speciation.



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