The Stanford biologist Stephen Palumbi wrote an excellent book some years ago called The Evolution Explosion, in which he argued that humans have become a powerful force in the evolution of life. We’ve altered the whole planet, so that now many species are traveling on new evolutionary trajectories. (For more, here’s a review of the book I wrote for the New York Times Book Review.)
Over the years since Palumbi’s book came out, scientists have documented more examples of our effect. This week, I was intrigued to come across a new study that we may be even altering the brains of animals. It’s the subject of my new Matter column for the New York Times. It’s only a preliminary study, of course, but it does raise some fascinating questions about the mental challenges animals now face as they navigate a human-dominated world. Check it out.