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Unnatural Selection - How Humans Are Changing Evolution | Free Documentary Nature

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💫 Short Summary

Human activity has influenced evolution through unnatural selection, impacting the environment and driving changes. Agriculture and deliberate breeding have shaped the evolution of plants and animals, with efforts to recreate extinct species like the aurochs. Unnatural selection has led to rapid changes in species, such as deer and turtles, in response to human influences. Urbanization has also driven evolution in species like white-footed mice and peregrine falcons. Pollution and industrial activities have caused genetic changes in species like the peppered moth. Additionally, the impact of climate change on evolution and wildlife conservation efforts is discussed.

✨ Highlights
📊 Transcript
Impact of Unnatural Selection on Evolution.
04:00
Human activity has significantly impacted the course of evolution by altering the environment and driving changes.
Early farmers faced challenges due to difficulties in gathering ancient wheat varieties caused by seed dispersal mechanisms.
Human actions have influenced the process of natural selection, which was traditionally driven by adapting to the environment.
The profound impact of human activity on evolution has shaped the world in unprecedented ways.
Evolution of Agriculture and Domestication of Animals
06:18
Farmers realized seeds stayed on plants, leading to better harvesting techniques.
Selecting beneficial grass types in the Middle East led to wheat domestication, crucial for human development.
Unnatural selection began around 30,000 years ago with wolves, leading to the domestication of dogs.
Deliberate breeding of dogs resulted in diverse breeds with unique characteristics.
Unnatural selection can reverse evolution, allowing the recreation of extinct wild creatures like European wild ox descendants.
Efforts to bring back the extinct aurochs in the Netherlands are underway.
10:56
Genetic material is being collected from aurochs remains across Europe to analyze and recreate their DNA.
The Taurus project aims to crossbreed primitive cattle breeds to reunite aurochs genes.
Progress has been made in creating aurochs-like animals called taurus.
These animals, along with ponies resembling original wild horses, will help restore Europe's ecology by recreating a mosaic of grassland and forest.
Darwin's study of artificial selection through pigeon breeding led to the conclusion that natural selection could create diverse species over millions of years.
16:35
Predation is a key force in evolution, with humans now considered super predators who hunt for pleasure.
Human hunting practices have influenced the evolution of deer, resulting in smaller antlers and bodies.
Unnatural selection is evident in diamondback terrapins, as biologist Randy Chambers discovered greedy packs easily trapped by fishermen.
Female turtles evolving larger sizes to avoid commercial crab traps.
21:55
Comparison of trapped and non-trapped turtles shows significant differences in growth rates and sizes.
Rapid evolution of female turtles demonstrates impact of natural selection in response to commercial fishing.
Study highlights animals' ability to adapt and evolve quickly in changing environments.
Challenges traditional views on pace of evolutionary change.
Human influence on Darwin's finches and Cliff swallows.
26:04
Darwin's finches on the Galapagos Islands are reversing speciation due to easy access to human-provided food like rice and potato chips.
Cliff swallows nesting on freeway bridges are evolving shorter wings in just 30 years to avoid traffic accidents more effectively.
This showcases a rapid evolutionary response to human activities in both species.
Adaptation of Peregrine Falcons to City Life.
30:27
Peregrine falcons have adapted to nesting on urban cliffs and preying on pigeons in cities.
Cities provide more opportunities for peregrine falcons than natural cliffs.
Scientists are studying how urban green patches act as wildlife islands.
White-footed mice are thriving in city forest fragments.
Urbanization and pollution in New York City have led to genetic changes in white-footed mice and peppered moths over 120 years.
36:17
The evolution of white-footed mice in different parks mirrors the diversity of species seen in Darwin's finches on the Galapagos Islands.
Industrial pollution, specifically PCBs, has caused changes in the peppered moth population.
Pollution in the Hudson River from PCB dumping has had significant impacts on the ecosystem and human health.
Human activity has lasting effects on the environment through pollution and urbanization.
Evolution of resistance in Hudson River fish and 'super rats' in cities.
41:14
Fish in the Hudson River have developed resistance to toxic chemicals like PCBs and dioxins by altering a single gene and cell membrane molecule.
'Super rats' in cities have evolved to be resistant to traditional poisons like Warfarin, showcasing unnatural selection.
Invasive species like the cane toad in Australia demonstrate the impact of human transportation on global species spread and local ecosystem disruption.
Cane toads release a powerful poison that affects predators, leading to evolutionary changes in snakes with smaller heads surviving.
45:27
Toads are evolving rapidly with longer legs and increased invasion rates.
The impact of toads on native species varies, with some like the snake adapting while others struggle.
The common crane in Europe faced habitat loss and hunting, leading to population decline and disappearance in certain regions.
Efforts are being made to reintroduce cranes in Southwestern England, highlighting the complex relationship between human interventions and nature's response.
Imprinting young cranes with unusual costumes to ensure they identify as birds rather than humans.
49:20
The method has successfully reintroduced cranes into the wild, where they exhibit natural behaviors and form pair bonds.
The project's success showcases the importance of imprinting for wildlife conservation efforts.
The video also discusses the impact of climate change on evolution, emphasizing its unpredictable effects on plants and animals globally.