Creatures evolve in response to "challenges" (i.e. stresses & disasters.) Here's a subject I haven't seen much about: what kinds of evolution are occurring today, mostly in response to the Biggest Stress of All: Humans!
Are animals evolving new behaviors? Becoming more intelligent? Is new speciation taking place?
For starters, I live near Valley Forge PA, which is probably one of the Deer capitals of the planet. It is possible to walk down the path and see 10, maybe 20 deer tamely grazing. Herds of 5 antlered bucks calmly gather along the road. I think more tourists come to see this, than the lame "George Washington" exhibits the park directors try to put together.
When you ride by at night, you can see the deer standing near the road, their legs glowing in the headlights. Yet NONE of them ever jump in front of your car and you NEVER see a dead one.
I think those deer have learned to look both ways. In fact I have actually seen them do this. I think they are getting smarter. That's Evolution!
A related thought... my Natural History Magazine says that poison ivy will become more virulent as the temperature gets warmer. Poison ivy is a major predator in this area too. I mean, it KILLS your skin. When the temp gets warmer, it will grow larger because so little of its energy goes into cellulose for support...it just climbs up the trees and all its energy goes into new leaves...new photosynthesis.
Well, poison ivy sucks (excuse me while I scratch) but Photosynthesis is a Good Thing. In fact if there is more C02 in the atmosphere, more photosynthesis is what we need to scrub it back out. They say "plant more trees" but where are we going to plant them, since developers are bulldozing more of the woods?
So this is good news? Is it part of Gaia's way of trying to self-regulate the atmosphere?
Any other examples? I'd like to hear something good.