Evolution is Faster in the Tropics

It seems that with climate change we will lose some species but gain new ones - or have new "changed" species. Some species living at high altitudes have been changing as mountain tops become warmer with climate change. It was believed that accelerated evolution only occurs in cold regions, but it has been discovered that it also happens in the tropics.

While it has been accepted for a long time that plants and marine protists evolve faster, the process has only recently been recognized in mammals. What is unusual is that mammals are not directly affected by a warming climate because they naturally maintain a steady body heat.

It is now believed that evolution in the tropics is even faster that in temperate regions. There is a greater diversity of species in the tropics. This faster evolution and more species means that adaptation to changing conditions is rapid. The faster evolution actually makes for many more types of animals.

There must be something else, however, that is driving change in mammals than just a warming climate. Genes were studied from closely related mammals at both high and low altitudes. It was found that DNA substitution was much faster at low, warm latitudes. There are two theories on why this is happening: 1) mammals act in sympathy with other animals; and 2) mammals slow down and become torpid in a colder climate.

Personally, neither of these two theories seems realistic. Why should mammals act in Sympathy? Moreover, mammals in cold climates actually seem to be more active.