A new study by biologists at the University of Tulsa and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln presents evidence to suggest that cliff swallows in southwestern Nebraska may be suffering fewer incidence of collision with cars, thanks to shorter wings.

According to Current Biology, researchers Charles Brown and Mary Bomberger Brown have been paying close attention to the swallow population in this particular section of Nebraska. They've found that the birds measured now have shorter wings than did the birds that were first studied back in 1982. What's more, there are a smaller number of roadkill birds found in the area – despite increases in both swallow population and traffic since the study began. No increase in roadkill-eating scavengers has been found either.

That evidence suggests that swallows with shorter wings are better able to maneuver out of the path of oncoming vehicles. Roadkill birds found these days have longer wings than average, too, which seems to back up the speculation. Scientists also believe that the shorter wings and increased maneuverability has allowed the cliff swallows to be more adept at catching insects that live in the increasingly frequent corn fields around the area, too. Brown says that evolution would likely favor the birds that have adapted to better catch their dinners, as well as passing along the genes that allow them to avoid killer cars. Science, man!


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  • 135 Comments
      avconsumer2
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, here's hoping squirrels catch on and can soon actually DECIDE which way to scamper to avoid a vehicle.
        Mr E
        • 1 Year Ago
        @avconsumer2
        lol, i hate that..... "JUST F*ING PICK A DIRECTION, SQUIRREL!!!!"
        Danrar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @avconsumer2
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzoYOmfiEjI
      vripper
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wish deer would grow shorter legs to avoid cars.
        eliotsmeliot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vripper
        I guess evolution is taking it's sweet time with deer.
          EXP Jawa
          • 1 Year Ago
          @eliotsmeliot
          I had a deer slip & fall on the road right in front of me once. He/she/it didn\'t have the opportunity to pass on its genes. At least not after that point. Did little damage to my 323GTX though...
      ChrisH
      • 1 Year Ago
      I prefer to think that they simply "leveled up"
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is it me or is the bird in the picture giving a "WTF are you looking at!" pose to the camera?
        Pinhead
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        I think Autoblog is running a massive humor deficit this morning. Sigh. Because you're right, that's exactly what the punk little motherf****er is saying with his birdy body language.
      Ziv
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am not sure if swallows have developed shorter wingspans to avoid cars, but I am nearly certain that most writers on this site have developed shorter attention spans to avoid complicated thought.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nonsense, it's just a fashion thing by those young swallows who have no regard for the proper way of doing things ! Why, in my young day, I wouldn't have..............
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think ABG has found another button they can push for huge comment input. Who would have ever guessed that mentioning evolution would bring in so many interested ranters. And, what about the reverend grand poobah Babu the Ranganathan? Surely his flock will grow having enlightened the mortals here at ABG. How were we ever able to live before.
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Suppose two swallows carried one together! How? With a line tied under the dorsel guiding feather? Well why not?
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow! Babu must have a search engine looking for articles about evolution so he can comment on them. Hey Babu! You are 94 percent banana. Look it up (in someone elses book) 24th edition....
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      This seems pretty legit considering all the factors. If so, it's incredible that such a change has taken place in such a short time span. Nature and science is amazing. At the same time, this is a little sad.
      Yo G Dawg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Are Long-winged Swallows Being Killed by Cars, Leaving Only Short-winged Swallows?
      Babu G. Ranganathan
      • 1 Year Ago
      NATURAL LIMITS TO EVOLUTION: Only evolution within "kinds" is genetically possible (i.e. varieties of dogs, cats, etc.), but not evolution across "kinds" (i.e. from sea sponge to human). How did species survive if their vital tissues, organs, reproductive systems were still evolving? Read my Internet article: WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS! (2nd Edition). I discuss: Punctuated Equilibria, "Junk DNA," genetics, mutations, natural selection, fossils, genetic and biological similarities between species. Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION Babu G. Ranganathan* B.A. Bible/Biology Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I've been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who in The East" for my writings on religion and science.
        Carpinions
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Babu G. Ranganathan
        Ya, we're all gonna run out and read your blog, where you've supposedly unraveled the grand global conspiracy. You have a B.A. in bible/Biology? What exactly is that, and how much did you Paypal to an online certificate vendor for it?
        Gorgenapper
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Babu G. Ranganathan
        This is hilarious. According to your theory of evolution, whales and other cetaceans cannot possibly exist because they could not have evolved from land-dwelling mammals. Yet they still breathe air, give birth to live young and feed them with milk.
        Mason
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Babu G. Ranganathan
        Science supporting creation? Are you suddenly the first person to scientifically proven the existence of God?
          Carpinions
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mason
          No, but he's only the umpteen billionth to claim as much.
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