Sunday, April 29, 2012

Plate Tectonics: Evolution Beneath our Feet!

Many modern scientists and geographers look at the Theory of Plate Tectonics when learning about the evolution of species. In short, Plate Tectonics refer to disk-shaped layers in the Earth's lithosphere. Due to the rotation of the Earth and its gravitational pull these plates are constantly moving and "shifting." 

Of course, this is no fast process: It takes almost 365 days for these layers to move 2cm - 10cm (about the same rate at which fingernails grow). This explains exactly how certain species have evolved in areas out of their natural climates. 

For example, Madagascar, an island about the size of Texas off the coast of South Africa, contains many similar species to southern Africa. The fossa, an endangered mammal with a cat-like body, is the distant relative to the mongoose--an animal very common to much of southern Africa. Scientists believe that the mongoose mated with species of wild cats and over time created a hybrid being--now the fossa. The shifting of Plate Tectonics then, slowly, migrated the fossa onto a separate island where they still exist today.

This is a prime example of how limitless the laws of Natural Selection are.

                               Mongoose                                                          Fossa                                   

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