United News International (UNI)- Harvard researchers put tropical lizards to the test to figure out how they were able to survive catastrophic storms in the Caribbean.
Lead author Colin Donihue said they used “the largest leaf blower we could find” to simulate hurricane conditions.
Scientists watched the lizards cling to a wooden stick with only their front legs in wind speeds as high as 108 mph.
The study, recently published in the journal “Nature,” explains the lizards that survived the most recent hurricanes had about 6 percent to 9 percent larger toe pads.
The study also found that the surviving lizards had longer front legs than back legs.
Donihue says the study is the first to show an example of natural selection due to a hurricane.
He believes that rather than the lizards evolving at a rapid rate, the hurricane simply wiped out the lizards with smaller toe pads.