We typically focus on the downsides of adding pollution to the environment and ways to avoid doing so, but a tidbit of news in yesterday’s New York Times weekly science section sheds an unusual light on toxins.
“The researchers gave male wild starlings in the lab the same chemicals in doses similar to those in the wild and found that the brain area responsible for song complexity became overdeveloped and that the songs were more complex than in birds that did not have the compounds.”
The findings remind us of that old truism: nature is a massive, massive web. Changing one thread affects others — sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. As for the feathered fellows, run, er, fly with it while you can. Given evolution’s track record, the ladies are sure to figure it out soon.
Story by Victoria Schlesinger. This article originally appeared in Plenty in March 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.