When anole lizards (Anolis roquet) arrived on Martinique more than 8 million years ago, there were four separate, smaller islands. Over time, this physical isolation should have allowed the lizards to evolve into different species, according to conventional evolutionary wisdom. But that’s not what happened.
One of the best ways to split a species is allopatric speciation. That’s when some sort of physical barrier separates individuals from the same population, causing them to eventually become so genetically distinct that they can no longer interbreed. A famous example is Darwin’s finches, which started out as a single species but adapted over millions of years to the various environments of the Galápagos Islands, eventually becoming 13 species.
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