SMART PEOPLE have discovered that mussels in New England can evolve extremely rapidly in response to the introduction of a threatening new species of crab. I don’t mean “kind of quickly;” I mean “within a few years,” which from an evolutionary standpoint is relative to the amount of time it takes Pat Robertson to thump his Bible in frustration.
The invasive species of crab has crept into the waters of the Long Island Sound over the past 15 years, and at the time of the study the crab had yet to reach Northern Maine. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire (go New Englanders!) studied two kinds of crab: the invasive Asian crab and a green crab that was introduced into waters 200 years ago and is found in both Maine and further south.
When placed near the green crabs, both the northern and southern mussels hardened their shells to prevent them from getting skewered.
. . . hold on one second, that mental image just made my stomach growl . . . okay . . .
When placed in the vicinity of the Asian crab, southern mussels reacted by hardening their shells, but their northern counterparts did not. This showed that in the fifteen years the southern mussels have cohabitated with the Asian crab, they’ve developed the ability to recognize them and react accordingly.
FIFTEEN YEARS! Holy cow. Here’s a slightly longer and better article about this great new find.
In other news, STUPID PEOPLE say things like, “Well, some people don’t think that [the moon landing] happened, they believe that was uh reincarnated in Arizona somewhere.” They also think Star Wars was based on a true story and that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are famous sumo wrestlers. Enjoy this depressing video!