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A revolutionary study about evolution has come out of the University’s evolution and ecology departments. The study, published this week in Science ‘R Us, examines a new species of human: Collegius baconus.
“This is an entirely new species of human being,” said Rudy Ralph, associate professor of human evolution.
Skeptics of evolution, particularly those who advocate intelligent design, have always held onto the argument that evolution isn’t observable in “real time.” Scientists struggle to find a viable example of speedy evolution, such as Darwin’s finches or drug-resistant viruses, but skeptics claim that since they haven’t seen it personally, it can’t be real. Now scientists have one of the most convincing examples of evolution happening in decades.
“Collegius baconus evolved right under our noses,” Ralph said, “We never dreamed that a new species of human could evolve so quickly and without detection.”
With the thousands of studies always being done on the college student brain, Ralph suggests maybe scientists were looking too closely. When evolutionary biologists took a step back, what they found shocked them.
“This species of human, the Collegius baconus, has many significant differences that constitutes a species,” evolutionary biologist Amy Marie said.
There are many aspects that define a species. One is mating habits.
“This new species of human has a distinct mating habit,” Marie said. “They don’t pick a mate based on how compatible their immune systems are or any other parameter we’ve seen in modern humans.”
Instead, said Marie, Collegius baconus picks a mate based on blood alcohol level. The higher blood alcohol level each individual has, the more likely they mate.
Another characteristic that defines a species is proximity.
“One of the reasons that Collegius baconus evolved into an entirely new clade is because of how separated they are from other modern humans,” Marie said.
For hundreds of years, college-age students have been shipped to isolated locations to interact and breed. Scientists say it’s no wonder they became a new species.
There are also morphological attributes that determine a new species. Collegius baconus has larger hands, for example. Evolutionary biologists suggest this trait came about so the individuals could hold more alcoholic beverages at a time, thus raising the likelihood that they will find a mate. Also, individuals of Collegius baconus’ olfactory processes are more sensitive to certain smells, such as marijuana and bacon.
“A lot more research has to be done, obviously,” Ralph said. “We hope to open a new research facility next year, where we can raise our own Collegius baconus and really get to know them as a species.”