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Green anole lizards are evolving before our eyes

A small green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis, right) in the southern United States used to have the only game running when it came to hunting insects. But all that changed when the brown anole was introduced to the area through human pet trade. The stockier brown lizards took over the forest floor, confining their green relatives to the tree branches above. Although undoubtedly a bummer for A. carolinensis, the lizards’ exile has given scientists an opportunity to study evolution in action—and they’ve found it to be surprisingly rapid, The Scientist reports. Over the course of just 20 generations, the green anoles have developed larger and stickier toe pads that help them navigate their higher territory, researchers report in the current issue of Science. The speed of evolution seen here is amazing, but don’t tell the folks at the upcoming creationist conference at Michigan State University.

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