Speciation May Be More Common in the Temperate Zones

Michael Hopkin in news@Nature.com:

Most people tend to think of the tropics as the hottest scene on the planet when it comes to spawning new life. But Canadian zoologists have found that it is actually the world’s temperate zones where new species evolve and become extinct the fastest.

The discovery by Jason Weir and Dolph Schluter of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver threatens to overturn the theory that because tropical regions contain the greatest overall species diversity, that they must also have the fastest rates of ‘speciation’ — the emergence of new species.

“Our findings contradict the conventional view by suggesting that temperate zones, and not the tropics, are the hotbeds of speciation,” says Weir.