PerspectiveEvolution

How Victoria's fishes were knocked from their perch

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  27 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6264, pp. 1038
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad7032

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Summary

Intuition can be a powerful force in science, but more often proves to be an unreliable guide to reality. This point is beautifully brought home in the report by McGee et al. (1) on page 1077 of this issue. The study concerns evolutionary innovations that enable members of an evolving lineage to exploit resources in ways inaccessible to their ancestors. Most biologists view such innovations as opening the evolutionary door to species proliferation and the longer persistence of lineages with the novel traits. This expectation is often realized. But, as McGee et al. show in their study of cichlid fishes in East Africa's Lake Victoria, this is not always the case.