What is the minimum time taken by a species to evolve? Let the evolution not be completely advantageous to the species, but still, even a little evolution which can be seen or proved should be okay.

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    $\begingroup$ Evolution is a continuous process - there is no end point or finished product. As such, the idea of a "time taken" rather misses the point. $\endgroup$
    – Xenocacia
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ It depends what you mean by “evolve”. Many changes in characteristics of a population like colour changes in moths can occur very rapidly (decades). Although this is really just the natural selection between characteristics that are already present to some extent. True evolutionary change is very slow and gradual, but can be seen over almost any time scale if you are willing to look at very small changes. It would normally take millions of years for such small changes to build up sufficiently to create a new species. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


You can prove evolution by analyzing the genome after only a couple of generations.

Evolution is a process, not an event, and every new specimen will have different DNA than his predecessors. Some of the changes give it an advantage, others a disadvantage, or no changes occur.

You will always need a point of origin for your analysis, so a specimen that came a couple of generations before the current. Only this way you can detect changes and analyze their impact on the fitness.

In some cases you might even be able to tell when a specimen has lived according to historic extinction events that greatly influenced the fitness function.


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