Interesting article in National Geographic about so-called ‘evolution on steroids‘ in the Congo river in Africa. It turns out that the Congo is a very windy river, with lots of pools, bends, oxbow lakes, and waterfalls which turn one continuous body of water into a series of microecologies, each with its own set of stresses and selective pressures which drive speciation to create a wild menagerie of creatures, many completely restricted to tiny portions of the river.
As such, it’s like a compact version of Darwin’s Galapagos finches, as related animals who ended up on different islands evolved in different fashions to best take advantage of the conditions they found when they arrived there, evolving different sizes, beak shapes, nesting styles, and more. By analyzing the difference between the various fish species found in the river, scientists hope to learn more about how speciation occurs, and how selection pressures affect the process.
It is an interesting article, if short, but mostly I mention it as an excuse to put up a picture of the scariest damn fish I have ever seen, the Goliath tiger fish:
There are two things I love about this photo. The first is that the fish looks, for all the world, like it’s right out of the CGI files for Anaconda 3: Curse Of The Huge Motherfucking Fish That Ate Brazil. The second is that, by the way the guy is holding the fish, with his hand through the poor thing’s gill, it looks like the fish may have swallowed a person, who is reaching his hand back up through its gullet to try and climb out. And I could totally believe that.