News of the WeekEvolutionary Biology

Finches Adapt Rapidly to New Homes

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Science  11 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5553, pp. 249-250
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5553.249a

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A study of house finches, reported on page 316 of this issue of Science, has demonstrated that in just 30 years, finches newly settled in Montana and Alabama begin to look and act quite different from each other, despite being close kin. The researchers have also shown that these flourishing avian pioneers improve their chances of success in part by controlling the sex of their eggs as they lay them. In this way, mothers influence the size of their offspring, an important survival trait.