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Old 12-18-2006, 12:59 AM   #16
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Originally posted by Dreadsox


But isn't it the DNA code that produces adaptations? I wouldn't call it useless.
DNA is defintely the blueprint but changes in developmental pathways are also an important level of selection. The question of what is the unit of selection ranges from single genes all the way to whole populations and is a fascinating question. The introductory level examples of evolution do have a lot of exceptions that rather than disprove evolution reveal more complex interactions.
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Old 12-18-2006, 01:00 AM   #17
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Humans are still evolving and will be evolving for a long time, for example e professor told me that if you look to the fingertips of our ancestors you can see how they were big when compared to our fingertips now and that´s because humans do more stuff with fingertips like typing
Thats like neo-lamarkism, I am not too sure what selective pressure on fingertips there is - it would be worthwhile quantifying.
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Old 12-18-2006, 12:42 PM   #18
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Which my theory is causes us to have further problems down the road. We are artificially allowing DNA that would have been eliminated to continue to be spread.

The other thing I was thinking is you cannot stop evolution, but what will the effects be of say VIDEO games on our DNA code years from now.
THat's an interesting theory about vaccinations. I honestly have no accademic expertiese on this, but maybe the evolution of medicine etc can supplant the evolution of the genome. And maybe it is doing damage. Maybe the people being allowed to survive will offer things to the race that are valuable in other ways and evolution wouldn't have originally valued - artistic ability or somehting? the evolution of evolution...


As for video games, that is sort of interesting, but I guess video games don't directly relate to survival as disease and ability to process food does. I'm sure scientists will keep an eye out for this as ti falls under what I mentioned before with lactose tollerence from socially introduced foods - it's the social sphere instead of natural sphere influencing evolution.
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Old 12-18-2006, 12:48 PM   #19
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Life at the edge of chaos, but it should also be noted that Van Valen found that the probability of a species becoming extinct remains constant for it's duration. The idea that all species must be locked in an evolutionary arms race of adaption does not match for things like relic taxa such as the coelocanth or lungfish which appeared hundreds of millions of years ago and have remained relatively unchanged because the ecological niche that they occupy (the specific environment where they outcompete competitors) hasn't seen a challenger to compete against.
But humans don't occupy an evolutionary niche - we interact with a variety of environments that keeps getting more expansive as technology pushes us to frontiers, and we interact with thousands of species (though we may not always seem to care). And now we interact with an artificial environment that is far from unchanging and we are effecting the atmosphere wtith polution, destabilizing our environment further. So, we are not a niche species, and I think Dread's question stands except for these exceptional (and really, really cool) species.
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Old 12-18-2006, 12:49 PM   #20
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I think it's dangerous to make leaps such as "select for artistic ability" because many of these traits can actually decrease fecundity, for instance look at birth rates and intelligence. Im not saying that we will get dysgenics due to poverty creating Morlocks but when we look at 'positive traits' we must consider if they occur with enough frequency to have an effect on the population and if they will be selected for within the population. This is ignoring the genetic and environmental interactions that take place to shape behaviioural characters that effect reproductive success.

I see lactose tollerance as an environmental factor divorced from a social one, society doesn't will a biochemical pathways selection its still due to a material cause for material reasons. The crossover between biology and society exists because society is a direct product of our biology, cognition and communication are evolved characteristics in animals.
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Old 12-18-2006, 12:56 PM   #21
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But humans don't occupy an evolutionary niche - we interact with a variety of environments that keeps getting more expansive as technology pushes us to frontiers, and we interact with thousands of species (though we may not always seem to care). And now we interact with an artificial environment that is far from unchanging and we are effecting the atmosphere wtith polution, destabilizing our environment further. So, we are not a niche species, and I think Dread's question stands except for these exceptional (and really, really cool) species.
The niche of the bipedal hominidon the African Savannah? Civilization has only existed for a few thousand years tops and it's only been since then we have only had dramatic effects on the environment for a few tens of thousands of years.

Extinction is a function of probability due to innumerable factors, the thing is that the longer a particular species exists the probability level goes down furthur and furthur. It isn't a function of ever evolving animals getting progressively better.

Food and survival are not an issue today, but to relate the pressure of society look at attractiveness, the traits across all cultures for attractiveness have direct correlations with fecundity; biology makes women with 0.7 waist to hip ratios sexy, why a good complexion is beautiful and handsome men have strong jawlines. Society isn't just picking these things out they are hard wired, the expression can of course be modifief by societal pressures.
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:00 PM   #22
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This is one of the most amazing things I have seen.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/li...013_01_56.html
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:10 PM   #23
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Originally posted by Dreadsox


But isn't it the DNA code that produces adaptations? I wouldn't call it useless.
Large segments of DNA do not get translated into proteins. And even within the DNA which is translated, changes in the sequence most of the time don't lead to "adaptations" either. (Just because I don't want to be inaccurate - I'm talking about introns which are transcribed and then cleaved and exons which are transcribed and then translated.)

And if you want to be technical, it isn't DNA code that produces adaptations.
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:24 PM   #24
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I love this thread because I´m not still so convinced about evolution, we have a lot of proofs but I find it very unlikely, I don´t know why, I´m very open minded
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:28 PM   #25
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Originally posted by anitram


Large segments of DNA do not get translated into proteins. And even within the DNA which is translated, changes in the sequence most of the time don't lead to "adaptations" either. (Just because I don't want to be inaccurate - I'm talking about introns which are transcribed and then cleaved and exons which are transcribed and then translated.)

And if you want to be technical, it isn't DNA code that produces adaptations.
Im reading a great book right now called The Origination of Organismal Form that deals with this issue in relation to evolution, how gene level analysis of adaptions gives to narrow a view for the macroevolutionary changes that have a lot more to do with developmental pathways, fascinating and very multidisciplinary.
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:30 PM   #26
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^ What´s your profession????
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:45 PM   #27
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Im reading a great book right now called The Origination of Organismal Form that deals with this issue in relation to evolution, how gene level analysis of adaptions gives to narrow a view for the macroevolutionary changes that have a lot more to do with developmental pathways, fascinating and very multidisciplinary.
It's a great point, and often something that is overlooked.

It's really easy to think of adaptations as a byproduct of mutation but that is really a very narrow view as you stated. It goes to explain some things but you have to look at the pathway in question to consider the totality of the facts.

Sometimes I miss my old science life. Fascinating stuff.
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:53 PM   #28
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Originally posted by anitram

Sometimes I miss my old science life. Fascinating stuff.
I'm all for reading textbooks for fun, and recommend it to anyone (who has the time). One day it will be trendy and 'cool'. Just you wait!

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Old 12-18-2006, 05:34 PM   #29
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And if you want to be technical, it isn't DNA code that produces adaptations.
Remember I teach elementary school....its about as technical as I get.

My understanding is that the adaptations, such as comoflage would come from the survival of the DNA code that produces that trait.

If I am understanding this wrong I am sorry.
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Old 12-18-2006, 07:19 PM   #30
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Originally posted by Caroni
^ What´s your profession????
I stack shelves at the local supermarket at night and early morning for 30 odd hours each week.

And by day and evening I am locked away in my room reading journals and books to become the best damn palaeontology honours student in 2008 (part of the reason for working, being able to support myself as a full time student) and get some high qualification in that field. I will just raise the point that for an academic job in that field you have to be up with molecular biology, geology, geochemistry and the latest evolutionary biology - theres just not as many jobs limited to taxonomy. But the opportunities for those that have the skill are there both in research and industry.
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