|MadSci Network: Evolution|
If most evolutionary mutations occur due to a change in enviroment, will the captive breeding programs benefit endangered species in the long run? I am aware that genetic diversity is important to a healthy captive breeding program. I have studied species survial programs for many species. One factor that seems to be ignored is enviromental and social changes for the animals in question. If an animal species does not utilize it's genetic purpose over generations will this cause reverse evolution? Can animals loose the ability to fill the niche they evolved into if they are not active in the niche over several generations? This could also apply to the shrinking wildlife preserves. I know that mutations are spontaneous, but isn't the continued evolution inevitable due to the enviromental changes humans have imposed upon them? Would this turn a lion, great hunter of the savannah, into a scavenger? Over time would primates become less intelligent, because they are not required to think as much? If these changes occur, in the wild or captivity, how would these new species or subspecies be classified?
Re: Are animals in captivity evolving differently from wild counterparts?
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