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The impact of humans as super-predators

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Commercial harvesting of wildlife and fish has broad impacts on body size and reproduction and may impact future bounties. Those were the findings of a study led by Chris Darimont of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Darimont:       This was the first study of its kind to compare the rates of evolutionary change in these harvested systems with the rates of change in either natural systems or other systems that humans modify through other means, other than hunting. That is, through pollution or introductions.

Narrator:        Humans are super predators in that they harvest vast numbers of wildlife and fish and target large, reproductively mature individuals. Darimont says as a result, species are evolving to be smaller and reproducing at earlier ages.

Darimont:       If we want to make sure there is prey for human beings in the future in the wild, the best way to ensure that is to more closely mimic natural predators. And that is, take far fewer in populations per year and forgo our preference for the largest.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.