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Penguins, slugs, and sloths are the fittest?

GeoLaureate8
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10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If it's survival of the fittest, why did penguins, slugs, and sloths survive and beat out their extinct ancestors.

A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.
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Lickdafoot
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10/5/2011 1:26:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
it's not just about who is the fittest, it's also about adapting to the environment in order to survive. (which is really what evolution is about- just look up galapagos flounder and you should know what i'm talking about)
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Ore_Ele
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10/5/2011 1:29:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
If it's survival of the fittest, why did penguins, slugs, and sloths survive and beat out their extinct ancestors.

A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

Penguins are extremely agile underwater, and since their only preditors are under water, they can be as slow as they want on land, there are no preditors there.


And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

Slugs started as snails (as evidence of their vestigial shell). The shell had the advantage of protection for the creature, however, they lost it because as preditors co-evolved, the shell became meaningless (not helpful, nor harmful), while it protected from some preditors, it also made the snails stand out and eaiser to spot to others. Slugs also are coated with mucus that most preditors find untasty, and so that are often not targeted, unless the preditor is that damn hungry.


And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.

They don't need to. One really cool thing, is that trees and plants tend to move even less. The sloth only needs to be able to out run a tree (its natural prey). Their main advantage is that they are folivores. Since there is so little energy in leaves, they have to have a really slow metabolism, but, they have little competetion for food. And given their size, they only have 2 predators, the Jaguar and the Harpy Eagle.
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GeoLaureate8
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10/5/2011 1:33:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
^^^
Good answer.
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Cerebral_Narcissist
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10/5/2011 1:37:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
If it's survival of the fittest, why did penguins, slugs, and sloths survive and beat out their extinct ancestors.

A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.

Why do you pose these vague meaningless attacks on evolution?

Survival of the fittest is taken to mean survival of the fit, survival of the fit really means survival of the just good enough.

Are penguins able to breed... yes, are sloths able to breed... yes... survival of the fittest affirmed.
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TombLikeBomb
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10/5/2011 1:53:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

Penguins' ancestors couldn't possibly survive the penguin niche. Both the modification of wings for aquatic movement and the increased body mass necessary for heat retention necessitated the loss of flight.

And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

Slugs lack the cumbersome shell of their ancestors.

And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.

Speed is energy-inefficient and largely incompatible with endurance. That's why sprinters require more calories than distance runners and tend to be poor distance runners.
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kogline
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10/5/2011 7:30:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
fittest doesn't mean strongest, fastest, or even smartest. it means best adapted to a specific environment at a specific time. there are many, many enviroments on earth and a lot of time for them to change. species are not evolving linearly to some ideal being, it is more cyclical adaption to environmental change. so there may very well be creatures even more lame than slugs a billion years from now.
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Illegalcombatant
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10/6/2011 2:13:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
As many have pointed out survival of the fittest isn't who as the highest attributes of speed, strength etc. Its about the thing and its environment and surviving in that environment.

Maybe it would be better if the term of survival of the fittest was called survival of the adapted. Survival of the fittest sounds like survival of the FITNESS, hence you gotta be stronger, smarter, faster to survive. Gotta be "fit" to outrun those lions eh ?
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Wnope
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10/11/2011 7:44:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
If it's survival of the fittest, why did penguins, slugs, and sloths survive and beat out their extinct ancestors.

A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.

Fittest compared to what?

When a species enters a ecological niche, it will evolve specifically to that niche. Penguins eat fish while having to avoid many deep-sea predators. Flight is not very helpful in that case. Instead, it's better that the body design allows for better movement on ice and better water dynamics.

Sloths also evolved from a common ancestor to fit their particular niche. In fact, two versus three toed sloths are examples of evolutionary convergence.

Sloths move slowly because they specialize by living off a low-energy vegetarian diet that breaks down leaves through compartmentalized stomachs. Their evolution revolved around becoming fit for an area where their food source was extremely low-energy.

Try looking at "slugs" versus their environment. You'll find that each sub-species of slug has evolved to capitalize on the ecological niche they enter.

Any lineage that does not go extinct will continue to diversity depending on the environment.

Another pathetic attempt to discredit natural selection.
Chthonian
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10/11/2011 8:51:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/11/2011 7:44:23 PM, Wnope wrote: When a species enters a ecological niche, it will evolve specifically to that niche.

This would be how Lamarck would explain evolution; that is to say, the variations in the environment induce changes in behavior that give rise to structural modifications to suit that particular niche.

Darwin's natural selection suggests that there are variations of traits within a given species and environmental pressures select or weed out the unadapted; only the best adapted traits survive.

Natural selection is the best explanation for adaptive evolution, however, it fails to explain how the majority of phylum developed and diversified over a short period of time during the Cambrian radiation.
Wnope
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10/11/2011 9:19:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/11/2011 8:51:29 PM, Chthonian wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:44:23 PM, Wnope wrote: When a species enters a ecological niche, it will evolve specifically to that niche.

This would be how Lamarck would explain evolution; that is to say, the variations in the environment induce changes in behavior that give rise to structural modifications to suit that particular niche.

Darwin's natural selection suggests that there are variations of traits within a given species and environmental pressures select or weed out the unadapted; only the best adapted traits survive.

Natural selection is the best explanation for adaptive evolution, however, it fails to explain how the majority of phylum developed and diversified over a short period of time during the Cambrian radiation.

Lamarckian would be if a change to the phenotype (a bull getting stronger) will lead to a change in the germ cells (the bulls kids get stronger). This can only happen on an epigenetic level or when retrovirals can get their DNA into germ cells (neo-lamarckian).

The environment defines selection pressures. That's pretty simple stuff. Evolutionary converge is based on this premise.

If you want to understand the cambrian explosion, you need to study Evolutionary Development biology. There was a period where the evolution of creatures involved creating general "body plans" which become evolutionarily stuck. The initial branching out of phyla (which took longer than most people suggest) has more phenotypic diversity because the core genes were being selected for.

Imagine you have a cement mixer and bunch of pipes to guide the cement to the ground. The core genes are what would make up the cement mixer. The non-core genes (pipes) manipulate the expression of core genes (change the path and intensity of concrete pouring) which allows for a massive change with a relatively minor genetic variation. Changing the direction and width of pipes will have relatively low damage if mutated and can withstand greater levels of selection.

Are you familiar with experiments with Hox genes? That will give you a good example of "core genes" and what happens when you mess with them (one minor change and you might grow a toe on your forehead).

Check out homeoboxs and hox genes (http://en.wikipedia.org...) for examples of the "cement mixer."
Chthonian
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10/12/2011 12:08:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/11/2011 9:19:48 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 10/11/2011 8:51:29 PM, Chthonian wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:44:23 PM, Wnope wrote: When a species enters a ecological niche, it will evolve specifically to that niche.

This would be how Lamarck would explain evolution; that is to say, the variations in the environment induce changes in behavior that give rise to structural modifications to suit that particular niche.

Darwin's natural selection suggests that there are variations of traits within a given species and environmental pressures select or weed out the unadapted; only the best adapted traits survive.

Natural selection is the best explanation for adaptive evolution, however, it fails to explain how the majority of phylum developed and diversified over a short period of time during the Cambrian radiation.

Lamarckian would be if a change to the phenotype (a bull getting stronger) will lead to a change in the germ cells (the bulls kids get stronger). This can only happen on an epigenetic level or when retrovirals can get their DNA into germ cells (neo-lamarckian).

The environment defines selection pressures. That's pretty simple stuff. Evolutionary converge is based on this premise.

If you want to understand the cambrian explosion, you need to study Evolutionary Development biology. There was a period where the evolution of creatures involved creating general "body plans" which become evolutionarily stuck. The initial branching out of phyla (which took longer than most people suggest) has more phenotypic diversity because the core genes were being selected for.

Imagine you have a cement mixer and bunch of pipes to guide the cement to the ground. The core genes are what would make up the cement mixer. The non-core genes (pipes) manipulate the expression of core genes (change the path and intensity of concrete pouring) which allows for a massive change with a relatively minor genetic variation. Changing the direction and width of pipes will have relatively low damage if mutated and can withstand greater levels of selection.

Are you familiar with experiments with Hox genes? That will give you a good example of "core genes" and what happens when you mess with them (one minor change and you might grow a toe on your forehead).

Check out homeoboxs and hox genes (http://en.wikipedia.org...) for examples of the "cement mixer."

In Lamarck's view of evolution, it is the variations in the environment that induce changes.

In Darwin's view of evolution, the species have variations that are selected by nature.

A species doesn't move into a niche and then evolve to fit that niche. The niche selects which traits are most suited (i.e., fittest) to live in it. Unless of course the species has a technology in which to change the niche to fit it needs.

From my perspective natural selection doesn't fully explain the biodiversity that came to be during the Cambrian explosion. The Cambrian explosion didn't only establish body plans—of which there were many, but a multitude of complex organisms that seemingly evolved from simple-celled organisms.

If Darwin was right, this would imply that simple-celled organisms had numerous variations that developed over many millions of years, which nature began selecting for in a short evolutionary time period. I suppose this fact gives credence to Punctuated Equilibrium. One possibility is that simple-celled organisms had been generating genetic mutation and/or producing various proteins that neither gave the organism an advantage or interfered with their biological development and homeostatic functions. With the Cambrian Period came a change in environmental pressure that began to select traits from those previously non-adaptive mutations and gene products. But this is just wild speculation. I don't believe natural selection is the only factor involved.

Also, I know of Hox genes but they only suggest a link to a common ancestor. They do not give us insight into the complexity of the genome or how and why multiple gene products interacted to create function from structure, which ultimate yields the various different species. Though, it is fascinating to think how well suited the Hox genes are to have stabilized over such a vast evolutionary distance.
Wnope
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10/12/2011 4:11:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/12/2011 12:08:44 PM, Chthonian wrote:
At 10/11/2011 9:19:48 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 10/11/2011 8:51:29 PM, Chthonian wrote:
At 10/11/2011 7:44:23 PM, Wnope wrote: When a species enters a ecological niche, it will evolve specifically to that niche.

This would be how Lamarck would explain evolution; that is to say, the variations in the environment induce changes in behavior that give rise to structural modifications to suit that particular niche.

Darwin's natural selection suggests that there are variations of traits within a given species and environmental pressures select or weed out the unadapted; only the best adapted traits survive.

Natural selection is the best explanation for adaptive evolution, however, it fails to explain how the majority of phylum developed and diversified over a short period of time during the Cambrian radiation.

Lamarckian would be if a change to the phenotype (a bull getting stronger) will lead to a change in the germ cells (the bulls kids get stronger). This can only happen on an epigenetic level or when retrovirals can get their DNA into germ cells (neo-lamarckian).

The environment defines selection pressures. That's pretty simple stuff. Evolutionary converge is based on this premise.

If you want to understand the cambrian explosion, you need to study Evolutionary Development biology. There was a period where the evolution of creatures involved creating general "body plans" which become evolutionarily stuck. The initial branching out of phyla (which took longer than most people suggest) has more phenotypic diversity because the core genes were being selected for.

Imagine you have a cement mixer and bunch of pipes to guide the cement to the ground. The core genes are what would make up the cement mixer. The non-core genes (pipes) manipulate the expression of core genes (change the path and intensity of concrete pouring) which allows for a massive change with a relatively minor genetic variation. Changing the direction and width of pipes will have relatively low damage if mutated and can withstand greater levels of selection.

Are you familiar with experiments with Hox genes? That will give you a good example of "core genes" and what happens when you mess with them (one minor change and you might grow a toe on your forehead).

Check out homeoboxs and hox genes (http://en.wikipedia.org...) for examples of the "cement mixer."

In Lamarck's view of evolution, it is the variations in the environment that induce changes.

In Darwin's view of evolution, the species have variations that are selected by nature.

A species doesn't move into a niche and then evolve to fit that niche. The niche selects which traits are most suited (i.e., fittest) to live in it. Unless of course the species has a technology in which to change the niche to fit it needs.

From my perspective natural selection doesn't fully explain the biodiversity that came to be during the Cambrian explosion. The Cambrian explosion didn't only establish body plans—of which there were many, but a multitude of complex organisms that seemingly evolved from simple-celled organisms.

If Darwin was right, this would imply that simple-celled organisms had numerous variations that developed over many millions of years, which nature began selecting for in a short evolutionary time period. I suppose this fact gives credence to Punctuated Equilibrium. One possibility is that simple-celled organisms had been generating genetic mutation and/or producing various proteins that neither gave the organism an advantage or interfered with their biological development and homeostatic functions. With the Cambrian Period came a change in environmental pressure that began to select traits from those previously non-adaptive mutations and gene products. But this is just wild speculation. I don't believe natural selection is the only factor involved.

Also, I know of Hox genes but they only suggest a link to a common ancestor. They do not give us insight into the complexity of the genome or how and why multiple gene products interacted to create function from structure, which ultimate yields the various different species. Though, it is fascinating to think how well suited the Hox genes are to have stabilized over such a vast evolutionary distance.

We are saying the same thing in different ways. I am saying that ecological niches can lead to evolutionary convergence through selection pressures, and you are saying that selection pressures can lead to evolutionary convergence. Look a two/three toed sloths for an example of evolutionary convergence.

Lamarck would be if an animal enters an environment, the environment effects that animal, the environmental effect is transferred to the next generation. He had a "ladder of progress" which animals will climb just by surviving in their habitat.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

I'm not sure how you can possibly dismiss a homoeobox when talking about the genetic variation.

You seem to completely ignore my points on Evo-Devo in favor of a simplistic "variation as a blackbox" explanation.

Variation is not truly random, not in the sense of flipping a coin. Depending on histone density and adjacent primers, some areas of the genome undergo greater selection than others. Depending on how "core" a sequence of genes may be, the greater or lesser selection pressures.

The Hox gene is an example of the kind of "body-plan" variation you get in the cambrian explosion that becomes "locked" into the genetic makeup. If you mutate the homeoboxes, the organism is rarely viable.

I highly suggest this book (http://www.amazon.com...) for a good start for Evo-Devo.

If you don't want to read a book, try this article: http://www.pnas.org...

Teaser: The basis for all evo-devo research covered in this issue is, arguably, the Cambrian "explosion."
Chthonian
Posts: 247
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10/12/2011 9:45:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/12/2011 4:11:19 PM, Wnope wrote:
We are saying the same thing in different ways. I am saying that ecological niches can lead to evolutionary convergence through selection pressures, and you are saying that selection pressures can lead to evolutionary convergence. Look a two/three toed sloths for an example of evolutionary convergence.

Lamarck would be if an animal enters an environment, the environment effects that animal, the environmental effect is transferred to the next generation. He had a "ladder of progress" which animals will climb just by surviving in their habitat.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

I'm not sure how you can possibly dismiss a homoeobox when talking about the genetic variation.

You seem to completely ignore my points on Evo-Devo in favor of a simplistic "variation as a blackbox" explanation.

Variation is not truly random, not in the sense of flipping a coin. Depending on histone density and adjacent primers, some areas of the genome undergo greater selection than others. Depending on how "core" a sequence of genes may be, the greater or lesser selection pressures.

The Hox gene is an example of the kind of "body-plan" variation you get in the cambrian explosion that becomes "locked" into the genetic makeup. If you mutate the homeoboxes, the organism is rarely viable.

I highly suggest this book (http://www.amazon.com...) for a good start for Evo-Devo.

If you don't want to read a book, try this article: http://www.pnas.org...

Teaser: The basis for all evo-devo research covered in this issue is, arguably, the Cambrian "explosion."

Thanks for sharing the links and thanks for entertaining this discussion with me.

To begin, I am not sure we are talking about the same thing. I am not describing evolutionary convergence. I am speaking generally about how variations allow a species to occupy a new niche. In my view, the niche doesn't always provide selective pressure for the trait to evolve, which is what I think you are referring to when you apply your evolutionary convergence claim to this aspect of the discussion. Moreover, species don't have to evolve a new trait to adapt; they might begin utilizing a non-adaptive or preadaptive trait that was not produced by the selective pressures of the new niche http://www.merriam-webster.com.... This speaks to the impetus of this forum topic: why some "fit" animals would appear to have an imperfect design.

I believe our difference lay in how we view natural selection as it pertains to biodiversity. I do not believe natural selection is the only factor involved in evolution, specifically convergence evolution. There is a large body of evidence that suggests that convergence evolution can occur through the results of selective constraints that stem from biases in the production of the variation, genetic drift, and shared patterns of genetic correlation. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...) In addition, as the author points out in the above link: " if a taxa share the same development system (and thus the same constraints), they will be predisposed to evolve in the same way, producing convergent evolution."

Also, I didn't dismiss your Homeobox example. But the regulation of this gene is highly complex and works in concert with other gene products, so it is hard to imagine that natural selection would be the only factor to have ensured the Hox gene remains functional within a complex genome. And I am not ignoring your Evo-Devo points. I am just not sure the Homeobox sequence or Evo-Devo can fully explain all the biodiversity that popped into existence during the Cambrian explosion. (My wife has some interesting ideas here and is clearly on your side of the debate)

In the final analysis, it is obvious that evolution is a complicated idea that has many mechanisms to provide for the successful transfer of traits. But to me it seems naïve to assume that natural selection is the only guiding force. This is evident when different behaviors can result from to the same selective pressure (ibid). Moreover, not all traits have the same functional capacity (ibid) thus a similar trait may not represent a selective adaption to the same environmental pressure.
Wnope
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10/13/2011 3:13:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/12/2011 9:45:09 PM, Chthonian wrote:
At 10/12/2011 4:11:19 PM, Wnope wrote:
We are saying the same thing in different ways. I am saying that ecological niches can lead to evolutionary convergence through selection pressures, and you are saying that selection pressures can lead to evolutionary convergence. Look a two/three toed sloths for an example of evolutionary convergence.

Lamarck would be if an animal enters an environment, the environment effects that animal, the environmental effect is transferred to the next generation. He had a "ladder of progress" which animals will climb just by surviving in their habitat.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

I'm not sure how you can possibly dismiss a homoeobox when talking about the genetic variation.

You seem to completely ignore my points on Evo-Devo in favor of a simplistic "variation as a blackbox" explanation.

Variation is not truly random, not in the sense of flipping a coin. Depending on histone density and adjacent primers, some areas of the genome undergo greater selection than others. Depending on how "core" a sequence of genes may be, the greater or lesser selection pressures.

The Hox gene is an example of the kind of "body-plan" variation you get in the cambrian explosion that becomes "locked" into the genetic makeup. If you mutate the homeoboxes, the organism is rarely viable.

I highly suggest this book (http://www.amazon.com...) for a good start for Evo-Devo.

If you don't want to read a book, try this article: http://www.pnas.org...

Teaser: The basis for all evo-devo research covered in this issue is, arguably, the Cambrian "explosion."

Thanks for sharing the links and thanks for entertaining this discussion with me.

To begin, I am not sure we are talking about the same thing. I am not describing evolutionary convergence. I am speaking generally about how variations allow a species to occupy a new niche. In my view, the niche doesn't always provide selective pressure for the trait to evolve, which is what I think you are referring to when you apply your evolutionary convergence claim to this aspect of the discussion. Moreover, species don't have to evolve a new trait to adapt; they might begin utilizing a non-adaptive or preadaptive trait that was not produced by the selective pressures of the new niche http://www.merriam-webster.com.... This speaks to the impetus of this forum topic: why some "fit" animals would appear to have an imperfect design.

I believe our difference lay in how we view natural selection as it pertains to biodiversity. I do not believe natural selection is the only factor involved in evolution, specifically convergence evolution. There is a large body of evidence that suggests that convergence evolution can occur through the results of selective constraints that stem from biases in the production of the variation, genetic drift, and shared patterns of genetic correlation. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...) In addition, as the author points out in the above link: " if a taxa share the same development system (and thus the same constraints), they will be predisposed to evolve in the same way, producing convergent evolution."

Also, I didn't dismiss your Homeobox example. But the regulation of this gene is highly complex and works in concert with other gene products, so it is hard to imagine that natural selection would be the only factor to have ensured the Hox gene remains functional within a complex genome. And I am not ignoring your Evo-Devo points. I am just not sure the Homeobox sequence or Evo-Devo can fully explain all the biodiversity that popped into existence during the Cambrian explosion. (My wife has some interesting ideas here and is clearly on your side of the debate)

In the final analysis, it is obvious that evolution is a complicated idea that has many mechanisms to provide for the successful transfer of traits. But to me it seems naïve to assume that natural selection is the only guiding force. This is evident when different behaviors can result from to the same selective pressure (ibid). Moreover, not all traits have the same functional capacity (ibid) thus a similar trait may not represent a selective adaption to the same environmental pressure.

I'm quite familiar with niche adaptation.

Natural selection acts a probabilistic sieve for variation. Factors like genetics drift, neutral selection, and such act on the probability of an organisms survival when natural selection is involved.

Evolutionary co-option (preadaptation) is a mechanism of variation. Co-option will have no evolutionary advantage unless the relevant selective pressures are there.

Saying that environment determines selection pressures really is not a profound or controversial statement. Variation can lead to better exploiting an existing niche or gaining the ability to exploit new ones.

Selection (on the level of organisms) can only act on PHENOTYPES not genotypes. Of course Hox genes aren't singularly selected when natural selection occurs on the level of organisms (as opposed to gene-level selection a la selfish gene). As I have repeatedly said, the hox gene is an example of how the evolution of "core genes" which lock bodyplans can create a multitude of variation inside certain bounds.

Natural selection keeps homeoboxes "functional" for the simple reason that non-functional homeoboxes almost never lead to procreation. Nothing magical about it.

I don't recall suggesting natural selection on DNA is the only mechanism for traits. Epigenetics uses neo-lamarckian trait transfer, neutral selection and genetic drift can lead to bottlenecks which force evolutionary pathways where they otherwise would not be. Living fossil species are examples of selection pressures over many generations having no phenotype effect while dramatically changing the genome.

Selection can only effect whatever variation exists. Selection cannot create variation. I use "selecting" in a non-passive sense because it is the ordinary way biologists talk about the process of differential reproduction.

It seems that your only problem with the pre-cambrain explosion is your personal skepticism.
Chthonian
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10/14/2011 12:43:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/13/2011 3:13:07 PM, Wnope wrote:
I'm quite familiar with niche adaptation.

Natural selection acts a probabilistic sieve for variation. Factors like genetics drift, neutral selection, and such act on the probability of an organisms survival when natural selection is involved.

Evolutionary co-option (preadaptation) is a mechanism of variation. Co-option will have no evolutionary advantage unless the relevant selective pressures are there.

Saying that environment determines selection pressures really is not a profound or controversial statement. Variation can lead to better exploiting an existing niche or gaining the ability to exploit new ones.

Selection (on the level of organisms) can only act on PHENOTYPES not genotypes. Of course Hox genes aren't singularly selected when natural selection occurs on the level of organisms (as opposed to gene-level selection a la selfish gene). As I have repeatedly said, the hox gene is an example of how the evolution of "core genes" which lock bodyplans can create a multitude of variation inside certain bounds.

Natural selection keeps homeoboxes "functional" for the simple reason that non-functional homeoboxes almost never lead to procreation. Nothing magical about it.

I don't recall suggesting natural selection on DNA is the only mechanism for traits. Epigenetics uses neo-lamarckian trait transfer, neutral selection and genetic drift can lead to bottlenecks which force evolutionary pathways where they otherwise would not be. Living fossil species are examples of selection pressures over many generations having no phenotype effect while dramatically changing the genome.

Selection can only effect whatever variation exists. Selection cannot create variation. I use "selecting" in a non-passive sense because it is the ordinary way biologists talk about the process of differential reproduction.

It seems that your only problem with the pre-cambrain explosion is your personal skepticism.

It is well established at this point that natural selection acts on the phenotype; it is the functional consequence of gene expression that determines whether a trait is successful. But I am not sure how this fact lends any support to your point-of-view.

The discussion at hand is specifically trying to establish a link between natural selection and the Cambrian explosion. You seem fixated on the notion that Hox genes and homeobox sequences clearly demonstrate a link, but this narrow molecular-centric aspect of evolution fails to explain how such genes would have changed so rapidly to simultaneously give us nearly all the body plans of animals to come without any traceable lineage; and epigenetic factors would also have to change quickly, in concert with other molecular changes. More importantly perhaps, is that evolutionary developmental biology does not give any insight into how such genes were recruited or how molecular substrates translate in to operational phenotypes. http://www.ijdb.ehu.es....

It is also well established that variation is the key to understanding evolution. You rightly stated that variation is not random and selection, passive or otherwise, can only affect the variation that exists. And the undeniable fact is that the fossil record suggests little variation existed in the pre-Cambrian biota. Armed with this understanding, it is only logical to conclude that a key element is missing—that natural selection is not answering—in the Cambrian explosion debate, which has been raging ever since Darwin published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859.

This discussion is replete with examples that are actively being debated in expert circles. But citing those examples does not demonstrate that ones' position is correct. The strength of ones' position rests in the application of evidence to support it, not the force of ones convictions. The jury is still out as to whether ‘Evo-Devo' will answer the longstanding puzzlement of the Cambrian explosion…
Ren
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11/13/2011 3:05:04 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I think his point isn't to discredit evolution, but rather, to raise skepticism regarding the generally accepted and linearly-applied survival of the fittest.

Not survival of the adequate or survival of the practical. Of the fittest.

I've always been skeptical of this dogmatically Darwinian viewpoint, as well, although it's not altogether Darwinian at all. And, I've argued it here to death.

I think what Geolaureate's post aptly indicated that there are organisms, which continue to exist with no intrinsic threat to their existence, that are simply adequate for their environment, although they aren't the best example of something equipped for that environment.

I'll give you four examples.

The reason why a penguin is a good point is because animals competing for the same food and within the same area are much better equipped to survive--namely, seals, sea lions, and polar bears. How is this apparent? Because all three prey on penguins. This also holds true for seals compared with sea lions, and sea lions and seals compared with polar bears.

The reason why slugs are a good example is because their evolution has not necessarily adapted them any better to their environments for eons--most notably, because they often prey on each other. Examples are wolf snails and sea butterflies -- both of these are better equipped than their prey, particularly slugs, although they proliferate just the same.

The reason why sloths are a good argument is because there are other animals that live very similarly, and with very similar diets, but--get this--are even better equipped to protect themselves from predators, but are exposed to less predation! Examples include koalas and panda bears.

The last example is the chimpanzee. Undeniably lower on the food chain and inferior to humans in every way, they survived, although they derive from a common ancestor. Indeed, this is not only theory, but has become fact, thanks to the discovery of the remains of a 9-year-old missing link by a 9-year-old little boy.

I wouldn't even say that survival of the fittest out of several children is irrevocably accurate. Runts survive and proliferate all the time, sometimes resulting in pygmy versions of an organism.

I just don't entirely buy it, and neither does the scientific community--rather, not in terms of the dogmatic interpretation that the general public has adopted. This article sums in nicely:

http://www.scientificamerican.com...
Ren
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11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.
mattrodstrom
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11/13/2011 9:53:42 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
If it's survival of the fittest, why did penguins, slugs, and sloths survive and beat out their extinct ancestors.

A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.

stoopid!

Penguins are quick in the water.. Can catch Fish! Can YOU do that sir?

also... the big ones at the south pole.. Well, can you stand outside at the coldest place on earth through winter?
Yeah, neither can anything else.. Cept penguins of course!

and, slugs.. well... they get by. Probably a fairly low investment.. and it pays off.. so they carry on too
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Cerebral_Narcissist
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11/13/2011 11:29:10 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM, Ren wrote:
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.

What the fudge are you talking about?
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
SuperRobotWars
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11/13/2011 12:39:02 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 11:29:10 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM, Ren wrote:
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.

What the fudge are you talking about?

Seriously, those animals are well adapted for their niche and there is very little need for them to improve at the moment. Evolution has no destination it is only meant to make an organism suitable to the requirements of its environment and lifestyle.
Minister Of Trolling
: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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11/13/2011 1:01:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 12:39:02 PM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
At 11/13/2011 11:29:10 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM, Ren wrote:
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.

What the fudge are you talking about?

Seriously, those animals are well adapted for their niche and there is very little need for them to improve at the moment. Evolution has no destination it is only meant to make an organism suitable to the requirements of its environment and lifestyle.

Exactly... and as I said weeks ago... survival of the fittest actually means survival of the good enough.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
mattrodstrom
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11/13/2011 1:08:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 3:05:04 AM, Ren wrote:
I think his point isn't to discredit evolution, but rather, to raise skepticism regarding the generally accepted and linearly-applied survival of the fittest.

Not survival of the adequate or survival of the practical. Of the fittest.

I've always been skeptical of this dogmatically Darwinian viewpoint, as well, although it's not altogether Darwinian at all. And, I've argued it here to death.

yeah, that'd be a misunderstanding of the theory of evolution then..

and anywho.. in the past he's seemed skeptical of the theory of evolution Wholesale.. I'm betting his alternative theory involves aliens.. and illuminati conspiracies...

or.. Maybe even an intelligent universe!

I wouldn't even say that survival of the fittest out of several children is irrevocably accurate. Runts survive and proliferate all the time, sometimes resulting in pygmy versions of an organism.

long-term you wouldn't think "runts" would proliferate so successfully unless they were fit to their environment.

Like, lets say the Pygmies in Africa..

I think they lived in a Jungle-type environment.. Tough to get food.. being little is good :o)
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
drafterman
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11/13/2011 7:14:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/5/2011 12:42:12 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
If it's survival of the fittest, why did penguins, slugs, and sloths survive and beat out their extinct ancestors.

A penguin is a helpless, flightless bird. It just waddles around. You'd have to be off your rocker if you think that penguins are the fittest, yet that's what mainstream scientists believe.

And slugs? How are they fit again? Cause I don't see it.

And sloths, what evolutionary advantage do they have? They can barely move.

Uhm... they don't seem to have a problem surviving in their environments. Do you imagine God is coming down day-to-day making sure these specific animals survive?
DetectableNinja
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11/13/2011 10:29:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
As Darwin himself said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Ren
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11/13/2011 11:13:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 11:29:10 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM, Ren wrote:
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.

What the fudge are you talking about?

He made some good points and it was met with nothing but dismissal and, in some cases, derision and hostility, by everyone who replied before me.

As stated by my link, an article from Scientific American:

"It may be, as the second myth holds, that organisms that are bigger, stronger, faster and brutishly competitive will reproduce more successfully, but it is just as likely that organisms that are smaller, weaker, slower and socially cooperative will do so as well."

But, I understand that this is a debating website and not a science forum; so, it shouldn't come as a surprise that so many people rely purely on their opinions and personal (mis)interpretations. It's just annoying to see people express those opinions in such a haughty way when they're really misguided.

"This view of life need not have become the dominant one. In 1902 the Russian anarchist Petr Kropotkin published a rebuttal to Huxley and Spencer in his book Mutual Aid. Calling out Spencer by phrase, Kropotkin observed: "If we... ask Nature: ‘who are the fittest: those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one another?' we at once see that those animals which acquire habits of mutual aid are undoubtedly the fittest.""
Ren
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11/13/2011 11:17:39 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 12:39:02 PM, SuperRobotWars wrote:
At 11/13/2011 11:29:10 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM, Ren wrote:
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.

What the fudge are you talking about?

Seriously, those animals are well adapted for their niche and there is very little need for them to improve at the moment. Evolution has no destination it is only meant to make an organism suitable to the requirements of its environment and lifestyle.

Nawls, bro. Evolution has no intention, nor does it have purpose. Evolution simply occurs.

It just so happens that some animals survive and some don't, for a variety of reasons. Some alter genetically, some alter socially. Some alter intellectually, which is contingent on several things, to include genetics. Change over time, or evolution, is very dynamic and multifaceted; you should already know that "survival of the fittest" is inaccurate by the nature of the statement--it's an attempt to summarize an entire branch of science.

You simply cannot do that. There are no such accurate statements for any branch of science. It takes years to fully understand evolution.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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11/14/2011 4:31:38 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/13/2011 11:13:53 PM, Ren wrote:
At 11/13/2011 11:29:10 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
At 11/13/2011 3:14:32 AM, Ren wrote:
Hehe, it brings me a small joy to point out that this makes it +2 now for Geolaureate vs. everyone else on DDO in, only slightly surprisingly, scientific topics.

^_^ keep it up, bro.

What the fudge are you talking about?

He made some good points and it was met with nothing but dismissal and, in some cases, derision and hostility, by everyone who replied before me.

Bull.
I gave him the response you later parotted.


As stated by my link, an article from Scientific American:

"It may be, as the second myth holds, that organisms that are bigger, stronger, faster and brutishly competitive will reproduce more successfully, but it is just as likely that organisms that are smaller, weaker, slower and socially cooperative will do so as well."

But, I understand that this is a debating website and not a science forum; so, it shouldn't come as a surprise that so many people rely purely on their opinions and personal (mis)interpretations. It's just annoying to see people express those opinions in such a haughty way when they're really misguided.

"This view of life need not have become the dominant one. In 1902 the Russian anarchist Petr Kropotkin published a rebuttal to Huxley and Spencer in his book Mutual Aid. Calling out Spencer by phrase, Kropotkin observed: "If we... ask Nature: ‘who are the fittest: those who are continually at war with each other, or those who support one another?' we at once see that those animals which acquire habits of mutual aid are undoubtedly the fittest.""

So in what way has he attacked evolution?
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Ren
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11/14/2011 6:46:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/14/2011 4:31:38 AM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
Bull.
I gave him the response you later parotted.

Hehe, you love to self-aggrandize. I didn't see what you wrote, but I did look now:

At 10/5/2011 1:37:09 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
Why do you pose these vague meaningless attacks on evolution?

Survival of the fittest is taken to mean survival of the fit, survival of the fit really means survival of the just good enough.

Are penguins able to breed... yes, are sloths able to breed... yes... survival of the fittest affirmed.

Nawls, see, "survival of the fittest," an expression coined by neither Darwin nor his partner, is meant to mean just that -- and, it's false.

I didn't "parrot" what you said -- I supported what Geolaureate said. If you disagree with him, as you seem to, then you disagree with me, in which case, I couldn't have said the same thing you did.

So in what way has he attacked evolution?

What? Who? In what way has anyone "attacked" evolution? What are you talking about here, bud?