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AI Resolves 150-Year Evolution Debate Between Darwin and Wallace

AI Resolves 150-Year Evolution Debate Between Darwin and Wallace

In 19th century science, Darwin and Wallace clashed over evolution. Darwin saw sexual selection as key to butterfly color and male patterns. Wallace argued broader natural selection played a role too.

Fast forward to 2024, machines settle their debate. Scientists at Essex University, the Natural History Museum, and Cross Labs used AI to analyze 16,734 butterfly images. They focused on birdwing butterflies, known for vivid colors and distinct male-female differences.

Jennifer Cuthill, from Essex, noted the breakthrough. AI revealed new evolutionary details, especially in female butterflies, previously overlooked due to human limitations.

Results? Both Darwin and Wallace were right. Sexual selection drove male diversity. Female changes, however, showed broader influences, not just sex-linked. Both sexes contribute to species diversity.

Cuthill highlighted the significance: machine learning offers fresh insights into long-standing evolutionary questions. This study, published in Communications Biology, deepens our understanding of the evolution of these beautiful, yet endangered, creatures.

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