Urbanization is the process of urban growth and population shift from rural to urban areas. According to a new study by scientists from the University of Toronto, urbanization is becoming the main driver of evolution on Earth.
The massive project, which involved 287 scientists from 160 cities in 26 countries, explored how urbanization has affected evolution on a global scale. The white clover, a plant that can be found in cities around the world, was chosen for the study.
More than 110,000 clover samples were collected, and the researchers found that clover in one city looked more like clover in another city than clover found in nearby farmland or forests, regardless of climate. This means that urbanization pushes evolution in the same direction.
By 2030, the amount of urbanized land is expected to triple compared to 2000. This could lead to the conservation of some of the most endangered species on Earth, mitigation of pest impacts and improved human well-being.
Urbanization has many similarities across the world, and this can help scientists understand how it affects ecosystems and biodiversity. This could lead to the development of new strategies to conserve nature and combat climate change.