Metromorphosis: Evolution on the Urban Island

Cities are very much alive. Like islands, they provide a natural testing ground for evolution. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas now, the influence cities have on the planet’s life is enormous. But can they produce species? Foxes are learning to take advantage of human handouts in London, blackbirds are adjusting their physiology to relax around humans, and two forms of mosquito are diverging in the London tube system. Cities are hotbeds of evolutionary change, and regardless of whether or not new forms of life are destined to arise, they may help shed light on the origin of species.

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