What drives evolution forward? I heard that climate change drives species to evolve and adapt. Is there any other mechanism that is encoded in our DNA by which species can over abrupt changes, evolve and adapt?

Say for example Jupiter's moon Europa. If I find species of fishes here in Earth that could theoretically, barely survive on those oceans. If I come back in 5 million years will they look the same they did when I placed them there? or is the process of natural selection universal, and I would expect to see changes in the fishes due to their new environment which is not Earth. basically would foreign species also evolve and adapt.


closed as unclear what you're asking by AliceD, Remi.b, WYSIWYG Sep 28 '15 at 4:51

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  • $\begingroup$ The relationship and adaptations made to pathogens. As for your hypothetical situation, they would need a food source and a source of oxygen. It is hard to say whether they would even survive as they did not evolve there and we cannot be 100% sure that Europa will have all of the properties they need for survival. We see the effects on the astronauts who live at the space station. They experience bone density loss, develop vision problems, etc. all due to the fact that we did not evolve in free fall. It is difficult to make predictions about adaptation in places we did not evolve in. $\endgroup$ – AMR Sep 28 '15 at 0:51

You take a population of fish and put them in a new environment (another planet even). Will they evolve?

Yes they would evolve as long as they don't get extinct. It sounds very likely that they would very quickly get extinct though.

Note, however that they were already constantly evolving while being on earth whether or not their environment was stable or changing through time. Evolution is not a thing that occurs only when the environment is changing. Stabilizing selection, genetic drift and mutations affect the allele frequencies too, not only directional selection.

General comments on the post

I don't quite understand the relationship between the first paragraph and the second paragraph.

The first paragraph suggests a few misunderstanding of evolutionary processes. I recommend that you have a look at a free online introductory course of evolutionary biology such as Understanding Evolution by Berckeley University for example. Typically, if some concepts I used in the second paragraph above were unknown to you, then you definitely want to have a look at Understanding Evolution


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