Where Pollution Meets Evolution


Where pollution meets evolution.

Centuries of industrial waste leads to spotting of potential new species.

Birmingham, UK – Business’ and visitors around Birmingham’s canal networks have been shocked by the discovery of an odd creature darting in and around the waterways, but nobody seems quite sure what exactly it is.

While tales of odd animals have been passed around the area for centuries they’re usually dismissed as folklore and fancy. But now, new photographs taken near the Grand Union canal seem to show a horrifying hybrid – a rat which has developed a fish-like tail.

“I heard a rustling in the tree behind me” explained Vicky Roden, who works near the site, “and it was there, looking at me. Then it leapt from the branch onto the tow path and scuttles down the edge and away.” Roden managed to snap a couple of pictures before the creature disappeared below the waterline.

At this point it is unknown whether this is a variety of fish which has developed means of defending itself against predators or a variety of rat which has evolved to better cope with living in water. It has been suggested that the sightings are in part due to the ongoing HS2 works in the nearest green spaces which have been disturbing and displacing wildlife in the area.

More excitingly, scientists are seeing this as a possible example of the effect pollutants have on the evolution of different species. This particular stretch of canal has sections dating back 200 years and reaches from Birmingham to London, and while the potential effects of the vast amounts of pollutants and industrial waste has long been debated this new sighting gives them an opportunity to study the real effects of two centuries of natural selection in this kind of environment. “This is incredibly exciting” said one researcher, who did not want to be named. “It feels like waking up and discovering all the old science fiction stories were true. All we need to do is catch one of these things so we can properly classify and study it”.

Birmingham City Council and representatives of HS2 were unavailable for comment.