Could Predicting Evolution be our Best Chance at Saving Endangered Species?

Important and beautiful creatures are in danger of dying out as extinction rates rise to over 1000x greater than the historical average. Saving them needs to happen now but Tim Coulsen and co from university of Yale explain that predicting future evolution is what holds the key to understanding how to save our beautiful beasts.

The environment determines evolution. For example, the Grey Wolves in Yellowstone that live in an area of dense forest are more likely to have black fur than their counterparts that live in the open. Similarly, those that are surrounded by larger prey are more likely to be larger. Theoretically, if we account for all aspects that could influence evolutionary traits, we could use models to predict future changes.

Those that manage National Parks could then use the predictions to try and keep populations stable during the threat of climate change. Wider uses include estimating the likelihood of extinctions, and the environmental changes that would be needed in order to save endangered species.

Although Tim warns that accurate predictions are still not possible, using these models could be our best chance of saving endangered species.