Science: Evolution by Pollution

Major evolutionary changes in most species of life take place at a barely perceptible rate, often requiring hundreds of thousands or even millions of years. One rare and classic exception to this rule, the peppered moth, underwent a major alteration during just 50 years in 19th century England—thus providing living proof of Darwin's still controversial theory of evolution. Now, three English scientists say, the peppered moth is at it again, changing rapidly once more in order to survive.

Before the smoke and soot from the burning coal and wood of the Industrial Revolution began to blacken the bark of England's trees,...