Study of lice DNA shows humans first wore clothes 170,000 years ago

Jan 06, 2011 by Danielle Torrent
In this photo taken Nov. 4, 2010, University of Florida researcher David Reed is lead investigator on a five-year study following the evolution of lice that found modern humans first began wearing clothes about 170,000 years ago, a technology which enabled them to successfully migrate out of Africa.

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new University of Florida study following the evolution of lice shows modern humans started wearing clothes about 170,000 years ago, a technology which enabled them to successfully migrate out of Africa.

Principal investigator David Reed, associate curator of mammals at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, studies lice in to better understand and migration patterns. His latest five-year study used DNA sequencing to calculate when lice first began to diverge genetically from human .

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the study is available online and appears in this month's print edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution.

"We wanted to find another method for pinpointing when humans might have first started wearing clothing," Reed said. "Because they are so well adapted to clothing, we know that body lice or clothing lice almost certainly didn't exist until clothing came about in humans."

The data shows modern humans started wearing clothes about 70,000 years before migrating into colder climates and higher latitudes, which began about 100,000 years ago. This date would be virtually impossible to determine using because early clothing would not survive in archaeological sites.

The study also shows humans started wearing clothes well after they lost body hair, which genetic skin-coloration research pinpoints at about 1 million years ago, meaning humans spent a considerable amount of time without body hair and without clothing, Reed said.

"It's interesting to think humans were able to survive in Africa for hundreds of thousands of years without clothing and without body hair, and that it wasn't until they had clothing that modern humans were then moving out of Africa into other parts of the world," Reed said.

Lice are studied because unlike most other parasites, they are stranded on lineages of hosts over long periods of evolutionary time. The relationship allows scientists to learn about evolutionary changes in the host based on changes in the parasite.

Applying unique data sets from lice to human evolution has only developed within the last 20 years, and provides information that could be used in medicine, evolutionary biology, ecology or any number of fields, Reed said.

"It gives the opportunity to study host-switching and invading new hosts — behaviors seen in emerging infectious diseases that affect humans," Reed said.

A study of clothing lice in 2003 led by Mark Stoneking, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, estimated humans first began wearing clothes about 107,000 years ago. But the UF research includes new data and calculation methods better suited for the question.

"The new result from this lice study is an unexpectedly early date for clothing, much older than the earliest solid archaeological evidence, but it makes sense," said Ian Gilligan, lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University. "It means modern humans probably started wearing clothes on a regular basis to keep warm when they were first exposed to Ice Age conditions."

The last Ice Age occurred about 120,000 years ago, but the study's date suggests humans started wearing clothes in the preceding Ice Age 180,000 years ago, according to temperature estimates from ice core studies, Gilligan said. Modern humans first appeared about 200,000 years ago.

Because archaic hominins did not leave descendants of clothing lice for sampling, the study does not explore the possibility archaic hominins outside of Africa were clothed in some fashion 800,000 years ago. But while archaic humans were able to survive for many generations outside Africa, only modern humans persisted there until the present.

"The things that may have made us much more successful in that endeavor hundreds of thousands of years later were technologies like the controlled use of fire, the ability to use clothing, new hunting strategies and new stone tools," Reed said.

Explore further: Florida lizards evolve rapidly, within 15 years and 20 generations

Related Stories

Pubic hair provides evolutionary home for gorilla lice

Feb 11, 2009

There are two species of lice that infest humans: pubic lice, Pthirus pubis, and human head and body lice, Pediculus humanus. A new article in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Biology suggests one explanation for ...

Body lice originate from head lice

Mar 25, 2010

Body lice, which cause highly lethal epidemics (trench fever, typhus and relapsing fever Borrelia), originate from head lice. This has recently been shown by a team from the Emerging Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research ...

New ancestor? Scientists ponder DNA from Siberia

Mar 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig has sequenced ancient mitochondrial DNA from a finger bone found in southern Siberia. ...

The 'spread of our species'

Nov 08, 2005

Modern humans arrival in South Asia may have led to demise of indigenous populations. In a major new development in human evolutionary studies, researchers from the University of Cambridge argue that the dispersal of m ...

Recommended for you

Cat dentals fill you with dread?

Oct 24, 2014

A survey published this year found that over 50% of final year veterinary students in the UK do not feel confident either in discussing orodental problems with clients or in performing a detailed examination of the oral cavity ...

User comments : 93

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Quantum_Conundrum
1.2 / 5 (33) Jan 06, 2011
The last Ice Age occurred about 120,000 years ago, but the study's date suggests humans started wearing clothes in the preceding Ice Age 180,000 years ago, according to temperature estimates from ice core studies, Gilligan said. Modern humans first appeared about 200,000 years ago.


all of these numbers are so inconsistent it's a joke anyway.

Toba allegedly caused an ice age, and that was allegedly 70,000 years ago, not 120,000.

The recent find in Israel undermines this entire study anyway.

Finally, the belief that anything such as fleas or lice should even need to "evolve" to live in clothes is ridiculous. Organisms exist and even thrive in all sorts of exotic environments that they have been introduced into. No "evolution" required. Take the lampreys, Tallow Trees, and other invasive species introduced to north America. They did neither "adapt" nor "evolve" to their new habitat, and yet they dominate even the native species.
Shino
4.8 / 5 (24) Jan 06, 2011
Where do you find the time to comment on almost each article with your nonsense bullcrap ?
Quantum_Conundrum
1.1 / 5 (28) Jan 06, 2011
The lamprey and tallow trees are perfect examples of how evolutionary theory is built on nothing but fallacies and circular reasoning, because it's organisms introduced to a completely alien environment, and they out compete the natives, which, according to evolutionary theory, "should" be far better adapted to the environment.

the real world modern examples demonstrate "no evolution required". Things are what they are, and they don't have to change at all to invade even totally alien environments. Further, once they get in the new environment and dominate it, there is no "pressure" to change either.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.1 / 5 (29) Jan 06, 2011
Where do you find the time to comment on almost each article with your nonsense bullcrap ?


Merely trying to point out some real world examples in very recent and contemporary times, and expect the readers to, for once, apply some critical thinking skills instead of simply believing and parroting everything the "text book theory" says.

I find thinking for themselves and moreover thinking about things actually observable today is something most people on this board find impossible.

The invading lampreys and the tallow trees have been so successful, and without evolution, that we have entire government organizations devoted to trying to stop their spread.

What makes these people thing lice would be any different?
Argon
1.7 / 5 (18) Jan 06, 2011
Hi Quantum Conundrum,

Will you please take a moment to write down a little list of some of the best proofs you have come across that would limit the age of the earth to thousands of years and not billions? I would appreciate it. Facts don't bother me a bit. I love the truth whatever it may be! Thank you!

@Proponents of evolution theory would you also take the time to make a short list of the evidences that you think are probably the most powerful for supporting evolution? Thank you!

People talk alot about evolution and Genesis, but It sure would be nice to once in a while just every one share what they think is the best physical proofs for their positions.

I'm new to the argument and I'd like to know what really is the best physical evidence for each position. Defend your positions with proof!

Thanks for everone's thoughts in advance. Looking forward to hearing what those who have more learning than me have come up with for their own best physical evidences.
Shino
4.8 / 5 (17) Jan 06, 2011
Sorry but I don't take people who reject the theory of evolution very seriously.
dtxx
5 / 5 (20) Jan 06, 2011
Your insights into biology are possibly even more misguided than your understanding of computer science.

First of all, we see microevolution and adaptation occur in, for one example, bacteria. It is a fact. Organisms did not arrive here in their present form and can change over generations. How can you even claim to dispute that?

Secondly, native species vs. invasive species means nothing. Adaptations that work well in one environment might just work really well in another one. Why is that so difficult? And what happens when a new species invades? The native species either adapts or goes extinct. But if god perfectly formed all of the animals and nothing ever changed, how would there ever be extinctions?

You are the one employing circular reasoning, fallacy, and willful ignorance, only to shore the rapdily crumbling foundation of your system of fables, ghost stories, and outright lies told for the purpose of manipulation.
Argon
1.3 / 5 (16) Jan 06, 2011
Everyone should be able to give some examples of proof to support their position or why believe anything.

I think one thing that seems hard to reconcile is the speed of light combined with the great breadth of the observable universe.

On the other hand all the billions of fossils every place seems like a testament to a global flood, especially because of those polystrate tree trunks running straight up through millions of years of strata.

On the other hand if all the assumtions of radiometric dating are accurate they do seem to give very old ages, and the decay rates seem relatively constant.

I sure would like to know what really are the best evidences for each side.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.8 / 5 (19) Jan 06, 2011
Toba allegedly caused an ice age
No, Toba caused a prolonged cold spell, not an ice age.
The recent find in Israel undermines this entire study anyway.
Israel doesn't exactly get cold enough to dissuade migration.
Finally, the belief that anything such as fleas or lice should even need to "evolve" to live in clothes is ridiculous.
If you read the article "Because they are so well adapted to clothing, we know that body lice or clothing lice almost certainly didn't exist until clothing came about in humans".
Organisms exist and even thrive in all sorts of exotic environments that they have been introduced into. No "evolution" required. Take the lampreys, Tallow Trees, and other invasive species introduced to north America. They did neither "adapt" nor "evolve" to their new habitat, and yet they dominate even the native species.

Because they're more well adapted to those environments than the native species.
Burnerjack
5 / 5 (6) Jan 06, 2011
5 yrs studying lice DNA. Good work when you can get it.
Next time you hear a kid spouting off about college being a waste of time, lay that on 'em.
zslewis91
3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2011
@QC, i dont think anyone likes you, and i, as well as most, are pretty sure your full of Shit, so let me simplify things for you, christ is a hoax. there is no proof of his "existence", and if so, most of us in the academic/intellectual communities would'nt care either way....you post garbage like the rest of the "newbies" but.....ive noticed you never post on the math fourm.....i have a sneaking suspicion you didnt make it much further than high school calc. and thats with credit given:0 hahaha
Quantum_Conundrum
1.8 / 5 (13) Jan 06, 2011
i have a sneaking suspicion you didnt make it much further than high school calc. and thats with credit given:0 hahaha


Actually,moron, I completed quite a lot of math beyond "high school calc," and have never found a use for it in the real world.

The vast majority of "higher math" isn't even used in meteorology. You can even find professional meteorologists who will tell you they've never used any of it.

Most of it is pretty useless in ordinary life except in certain situations involving optics or rocket science, or speculative/hypothetical higher dimensional geometry.

I have no personal use for triple integrals, determinants, eigenvectors, etc, nor do I know anyone with a personal use for them.

And no, I don't practice that crap every day because you don't waste your time practicing something nobody ever uses, and if you do, for some reason, ever need it you can open to a modern text book index and read a table of known problems and solutions most of the time...
Parsec
5 / 5 (14) Jan 06, 2011
@QC - evolution itself is a fact, not a theory. I can demonstrate it in real time in a lab or a computer using a simple set of rules. In fact its a solid workhorse being used everyday to develop new hardware design and new drugs among other things.

I suspect what you are complaining about is the the spontaneous creation of life billions of years ago, the primordial ooze so to speak. There is really no hard evidence (yet) one way or the other about the primordial ooze question, but we do see species evolution on much shorter timescales.

You will never convince anyone on this forum to abandon what they know to be true.
jselin
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 06, 2011
You're a meteorologist and you don't find a need for higher math? What about differential equations???
zslewis91
5 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2011
HAHAHA @Qc....im sure there is not much of a need for math in your profession! HAHAHA

PS-"meteorology" has what to do with anything i said? nothing. but even if, your still wrong, us grown-ups with real jobs use math from time to time, and i sir, being software engineer specializing in low level code, do use it....im starting to like you QC.

sincerely sincerely sincerely, "guy who disagrees with everything you say"
sihaya
5 / 5 (9) Jan 06, 2011
The recent find in Israel undermines this entire study anyway.


that's questionable. there are debates as to how we should lump or split human evolution. some argue we shouldn't split our species and H. erectus by about 400,000 years because H. erectus (a morphologically diverse species) was anatomically modern post-cranially.

No "evolution" required. Take the lampreys, Tallow Trees, and other invasive species introduced to north America. They did neither "adapt" nor "evolve" to their new habitat, and yet they dominate even the native species.


organisms -naturally- exist in diverse habitats BECAUSE they evolve. species introduced into north america, where they have no natural checks and balances as they would in an endemic ecosystem, are still adapted -- just to a different environment.

their success means that their adaptation is already beneficial, so we would not expect to see them change greatly...
Ramael
5 / 5 (6) Jan 06, 2011
Why don't you take another look at the word invasive, Quantum Conundrum.

All species converge towards towards a specific survival in a specific ecological niche. The simple fact that clothing lice 'evolved' to survive in clothing simply means that they became more speciallized to survive in clothing, which lets face it, covers significantly more area that human hair and in clearly a different structure than hair, aka different environment requiring different specialize capabilities. The switch from hair to clothes essentially increases their chances of survival. Since at this point hair is still an affective medium of survival, and the two species live in different environments and do not compete, both species live on that thats where you get divergence of species.
Ramael
5 / 5 (6) Jan 06, 2011
Now on to invasive species. Sometimes specialization towards a specific tasks are effective at doing other things as well. Evolution is random. It does not have direction or intelligent directive. Instead it plays on probability, randomly selecting mutations until one becomes successful and survives.

Look at deinococcus radiodurans for example. This species was discovered thriving in barrels of radioactive waste. Did it evolve there? No, it evolved in a highly dry environment and developed protien defenses that protect dna and organelles in incredably dehydrated environments. Because this mutation was random, its effect can't possible have one effect. This is called a side affect, or a byproduct. As a result deinococcus radiodurans can survive in some of the most irradiated environments known to man, as well as continue to muiltiply below freezing point, and even survive in a complete vaccuum.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (13) Jan 06, 2011
I think one thing that seems hard to reconcile is the speed of light combined with the great breadth of the observable universe.


I don't understand what the problem is here.

On the other hand all the billions of fossils every place seems like a testament to a global flood, especially because of those polystrate tree trunks running straight up through millions of years of strata.


These trees supporting one Bibilical flood is a wash. They aren't at all from the same time period. The flood seems to have missed the peoples of Egypt and China.

On the other hand if all the assumtions of radiometric dating are accurate they do seem to give very old ages, and the decay rates seem relatively constant.


If you don't want to use radiometric decay, there are still tree rings, ice core samples, and marker horizons in the soil. All of these other methods still point to the Earth being older than 6000. Then there's the dinosaurs.
Ramael
5 / 5 (4) Jan 06, 2011

The lamprey is invasive simply because it evolved in an environment that demanded certain capabilities to survive, however after expanding beyond that environment it has no natural predators that can compete with its rate of reproduction. It is essentially a mutation in evolution, a phenomenon that has occurred in other species countlessly on the earth regardless of human intervention, and long prior to humanity.

"No "evolution" required?" This concept doesn't exist. Mutation occurs regardless, whether under ecological stress or not.

I think its time to realize that when people talk about evolution, they in now way imply an intelligent directive behind the process as you seem to expect, and that the idea that something conscious has to be pulling the strings is childish.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2011
So really, it boils down to all this evidence versus the Creationism. Creationists' stance amounts to 'the Bible says so'. The same Bible that also states the Sun stood still a day, and people rose from the grave. The same Bible that was put piecemeal together, by men, as a political tool.
Argon
1 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2011
What if God does exist and the Bible is true?

In that case I would certainly want to avoid going to hell forever.
I'll be first to admit that this universe is a strange and amazing place and the existence of a God would not at all be suprising. When I look around at the world I can tell that there is no way to rationalize my existence through natural processes. Certainly the idea that a God would exist is odd but as I think about it it doesn't really seem any more odd than my own existence. When I think of a God existing and also of my own existence I get kind of a dual feeling about it all. Like on the one hand life is absurd and weird but at the same time I stand up on my feet and look around and some how get the sense that everything is normal like life has a purpose and God is good. Then I read some of the different peoples points of view here and I just get the sense that when it comes to God and the origin of life people don't care about the facts. Something else drives them!
plaasjaapie
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2011
Lord! What a pissing match. :-/
Skepticus_Rex
2.8 / 5 (11) Jan 06, 2011
Invasive species do well outside of their native habitats because of a lack of predation in the new habitation. Same goes for the tallow trees. Lack of insect species endemic to their native habitat that attack tallow trees result in proliferation of such 'aggressive' trees.

These phenomenon are by no means useful as attack-points on evolution. In actuality, they are supportive of such because it shows that evolution has resulted in a balance in regions where the evolution occurred.

Remove these species from where they evolved and their mode of procreation/spreading that compensates for predation will work so much better in regions where there are limited to no predation events from predatory species that co-evolved with them over time in their native habitats.

That is prima facie evidence FOR regional evolution rather than against it.
Terrible_Bohr
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 06, 2011
What if God does exist and the Bible is true? In that case I would certainly want to avoid going to hell forever.

I won't give up camping for fear of Bigfoot. I'm certainly not going to participate in what is, in my opinion, the single most detrimental aspect of humanity, just to be safe from a threat that has never shown to be real.
Like on the one hand life is absurd and weird but at the same time I stand up on my feet and look around and some how get the sense that everything is normal like life has a purpose and God is good.

Great. I don't need a god to give my life purpose.
Then I read some of the different peoples points of view here and I just get the sense that when it comes to God and the origin of life people don't care about the facts.
What facts? There are no facts regarding gods or an afterlife.
RobertKarlStonjek
4.3 / 5 (11) Jan 06, 2011
What if God does exist and the Bible is true?


You mean:
What if men have one less rib than women?
What if the Earth is a flat disk at the center of the universe?
What if the Universe is about 4,000 years old?
What if there is enough water on/in/above the Earth to flood it?
What if there was a census in the time of Herod?

And that is just a very small list of Biblical failures...
Vendicar_Decarian
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
"Where do you find the time to comment on almost each article with your nonsense bullcrap ?"

Quantum Conundrum is unemployed and lives in his parents basement.
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
"What if God does exist and the Bible is true?" - Yabba Dabba Doo.

What if you are a banana dreaming that you are a person?

GaryB
5 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
Everyone should be able to give some examples of proof to support their position or why believe anything.


Where's your proof that the sun doesn't orbit the earth?? Some things have been so worked out by careful observation and multiple confirming lines of evidence: various kinds of datings, bio-chemistry, observed forms, observed fossils, methods of finding oil, observed speciation, confirmed biological predictions, anti-biotic immunity and on and on. To ask the question is nice, but at some point ignorant. You don't ask someone to prove that the sun doesn't orbit the earth. You might ask about the nature of gravity. Does it really obey the square law at all scales etc, but at some point you don't ask for proof of facts, you use facts to build other things on. Google proof of evolution talkorigins
googleplex
5 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
I think religion in general has big problems, in that it suffers from doctrinal shrinkage over time. Religion itself evolves over time if you will.
As science explains some ailment being caused by bacteria and not demons, or celestial motion explained by gravity then they cross out that part of the doctrine.
The other snag is that most religions are mutually exclusive. So the maximum possible number of people who are practicing the "correct" religion is a small fraction of the population of the planet. In essence most people on the planet are practicing the wrong religion by a simple logical set theory argument.
Barrett
3.3 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
If some God really exists, I think he will commend you for the fact that you chose to believe in something, rather than question others beliefs all your life. I don't think he's looking for somebody to be correct on exactly who or what he is. I seriously doubt he would have wanted a story written about him telling others exactly how to live their life after he had chosen to give us the freedom to decide on our own.

People are so afraid of going to hell they only believe out of this fear. I fail to see how this is going to save you as in that sense, you don't truly believe even your own words. Wouldn't it be better to just live your life ethically and logically and not have to worry, rather than live thinking "If I do this, will I burn in hell?"

As for this article, what exactly do they base the research on that is considered evolving to survive on clothing, and what are those changes exactly? Why do they think these changes occured solely because humans wore clothes?
kevinrtrs
1.1 / 5 (12) Jan 07, 2011
evolution itself is a fact, not a theory. I can demonstrate it in real time in a lab or a computer using a simple set of rules. In fact its a solid workhorse being used everyday to develop new hardware design and new drugs among other things.

Hey Parsec,
What part of evolution are you talking about? The part that says all living organisms descended from one ancestor or are you referring to the employment of existing but different DNA information as a response to environmental pressures, a.k.a adaptation?
I think you can easily demonstrate the latter in the lab as you say, in which case "evolution" is true and a fact.

However, I can quite clearly see that you are using the term in an equivocative manner - saying adaptation and implying change of identity from one organism to another. It's this latter part that has no substantive, undisputed "proof" or support. It remains a myth.

The word evolution simply means CHANGE, and life itself is impossible without change.
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (12) Jan 07, 2011
I think religion in general has big problems, in that it suffers from doctrinal shrinkage over time. Religion itself evolves over time if you will

By religion I understand you to mean all the rituals one goes thru to appease/please the wrath of the god/s that one believes in. In this case you are probably right - these things change over time.

In the case of Christianity certain nuances change as people better understand how to apply Christian principles to society.
However, the one thing that remains constant in Christianity is that one needs to have a living relationship with the God of creation. And one of the bedrocks of that relationship is that one believes in the existence of such a creator who represents absolute truth. And that we have broken the laws of that creator and deserve death by those same laws. However He has made it possible for us to escape that death by accepting the way HE made available, not our own ways. HE demands we accept the offer of Jesus His son.
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (11) Jan 07, 2011
@GaryB,
Some things have been so worked out by careful observation and multiple confirming lines of evidence:

You do realize of course, that the physical evidence is always interpreted to give it meaning. The meaning is always based on the world-view of the person doing the interpretation.
IN this current discussion/heated argument, one worldview is that there is a God who created everything [and in 6 days, too] and another worldview that says everything come from nothing[singularity] and gradually made itself over eons of time.
Furthermore there's the distinction one needs to make between things that happen in the present and that can be observed, tested and verified/falsified repeatedly - operation science. Then there's the attempts to make sense of things that happened in the past - historical/forensic investigation. Here one can only make assumptions and interpretations. One is not able to repeat/test/verify/falsify, especially that one thing changed into another.
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2011
@GaryB,
Some things have been so worked out by careful observation and multiple confirming lines of evidence:

So what this means is that what you refer to as lines of evidence is actually the interpretations of evidence which support the idea that everything made itself. Anything that supports the idea that things were created by some super intelligent designer is dis-regarded since it's not "science". Remember I'm talking about interpretation of forensic items here, not the operational science which anyone can readily verify/dispute/test repeatedly.
The physical evidence that exist currently can just as easily [actually better] be interpreted as showing that there is/was an intelligent agent responsible for its existence. Right now, the evolutionary religious establishment hides behind "science" and prevents such interpretations from being made in the public domain, namely in schools and universities - claiming it's not science.
"molecules2man" Evolution is not science either.
Argon
1.2 / 5 (11) Jan 07, 2011
So it sounds like there is really no debate about microevolution being the hard science of evolution. However, it does sound like the issue of the matter is Macroevolution.

I have sometimes heard the argument that the only difference between microevolution and macroevolution is time. If this is the case then I do see why the age of the earth is so critical to the argument for macroevolution.

I have also heard the argument that macroevolution cannot take place regardless of how much time goes by. This argument attempts to identify built-in limitations within microevolution that would make macroevolution impossible regardless of time.

Does macroevolution need much time to occur? If so that would certainly explain why it's difficult to find an article about evolution that doesn't invoke long time lines to support the topic of the article.

Thus the "holy grail" for macroevolution would be to observe and measure it within a few generations, for creationism proving Earth young.
Barrett
5 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2011
In the dictation that the only difference between the two is time, it is due to the fact that macroevolution is rather dependant on a series of microevolutions to occur. On that scale, it could take some time to occur, depending on how drastic the change is. I guess in my eyes, it's like going from sitting at home doing nothing all day to going outside for a walk as compared to sitting at home all day and then running a marathon every day. It takes quite a bit more change to adapt to running long distances every day than it does to walk some.

One thing I would like to point out, however, is that macroscopic evolution is much more complex than microscopic. This is partially due to that chain of microscopic evolutions to occur, and because it tends to be more dependant on sets of evolutions occuring simutaneously. I'm not saying it doesn't on microscopic, but the more macroscopic you get, the more the object in question relies upon to evolve.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (13) Jan 07, 2011
So it sounds like there is really no debate about microevolution being the hard science of evolution. However, it does sound like the issue of the matter is Macroevolution.
There is no such thing as micro or macro evolution. There is only evolution. If you accept your so-called "micro" evolution, then you accept that DNA mutates, and those mutations change the traits of populations of organisms. If you think animals can randomly change in very small ways, providing greater metrics of change within their populations over generations, then you now accept evolution whole cloth, and should grow up and stop being a pedantic douchebag.
Shootist
2.4 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
Quantum_Conundrum,

don't know much about history
don't know much biology
don't know much about science books . . .

son, you almost make me feel embarrassed about being right of Genghis Khan. But then I remember all the nitwits the Left relies on, and I feel a little better. But only a little.

Go read worldnetdaily or post at freerepublic; those sites welcome the Willfully Ignorant.
Argon
1 / 5 (13) Jan 07, 2011
@skeptic heretic

Know this! I'd rather be a pedantic douchebag saved by the grace of God than to be a skeptic heretic dead in his sins!
Inflaton
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
Oy Vey.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 07, 2011
Know this! I'd rather be a pedantic douchebag saved by the grace of God than to be a skeptic heretic dead in his sins!
If you were the latter, you'd know there's nothing to fear in regards to sin.
Javinator
5 / 5 (12) Jan 07, 2011

Know this! I'd rather be a pedantic douchebag saved by the grace of God than to be a skeptic heretic dead in his sins!


Assuming you're praying to the right god.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
Know this! I'd rather be a pedantic douchebag saved by the grace of God than to be a skeptic heretic dead in his sins!
If you were the latter, you'd know there's nothing to fear in regards to sin.


Well that depends on the sin doesn't it. It just so happens that quite a few of them you can be arrested for...
panorama
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
Know this! I'd rather be a pedantic douchebag saved by the grace of God than to be a skeptic heretic dead in his sins!

My ghod wouldn't save you, unless of course you pay your dues...also, my ghod is better than your ghod.
Javinator
5 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
Evolution is not science either.


Can you describe how it is not science?

You do realize of course, that the physical evidence is always interpreted to give it meaning. The meaning is always based on the world-view of the person doing the interpretation.


If that were true, nothing new would ever have been discovered.

The physical evidence that exist currently can just as easily [actually better] be interpreted as showing that there is/was an intelligent agent responsible for its existence.


How so? A lack of understanding does not imply that there is a creator. It also does not imply there isn't a creator. It’s irrelevant to the point you’re trying to make.

The evidence is looking at things and going, "Hey, look. As the living conditions of organisms change, their biology changes over generations as advantageous mutations seem to survive and propagate through reproduction or they die."

Whether or not evolution was designed is irrelevant to its existence.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2011
Well that depends on the sin doesn't it. It just so happens that quite a few of them you can be arrested for...
That isn't sin, that's crime. :) And the perpetrator wouldn't be afraid of commiting the crime, but for being subject to the rammifications.
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 07, 2011
Well that depends on the sin doesn't it. It just so happens that quite a few of them you can be arrested for...
That isn't sin, that's crime. :) And the perpetrator wouldn't be afraid of commiting the crime, but for being subject to the rammifications.


Yeah yeah I was just jerking your chain...glad you took it like I meant it :-)

I would disagree with one overtone of your response though. I'm QUITE sure the only reason you don't murder people as an atheist is that you're afraid of the law. I'm pretty sure there's some respect for human life and morality there somewhere :P
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
I'm QUITE sure the only reason you don't murder people as an atheist is that you're afraid of the law.
If you meant this as you wrote it:
1) that's highly insulting.
2) you're wrong.

I don't go around murdering people because it's wrong. Would you say that the only reason faithful christians don't murder people is because God said to not do so?

I'm pretty sure there's some respect for human life and morality there somewhere :P
Then why the hell did you say that first bit about murdering people?

I don't fear laws. I fear people who think that laws are necessary to prevent murder. Those are the truly twisted among us as if law ever breaks down, we know they won't have any form of societal or self restraint.
Modernmystic
3.4 / 5 (10) Jan 07, 2011
If you meant this as you wrote it:
1) that's highly insulting.
2) you're wrong.


Actually I did NOT write that correctly. It should have read "I'm QUITE sure the only reason you don't murder people as an atheist ISN'T because you're afraid of the law"

Apologies...sincerely. It's early and it's Friday...
Skepticus_Rex
2.1 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
There are two excellent evidences for the length of time involved and for evolution over time. These two things are sedimentary rock formations and phylogenetic analysis.

Even if the layers are not deposited as a constant, one can still make out the individual layers in the rock in good specimens. Count up these layers and there are may thousands more than would be permitted by the timeline of the Bible. Anyone doubting this need to visit some of these extensive rock formations and start counting layers. The math does not work out.

As to phylogenetic analysis, laying strings of DNA components (the so-called 'letters' of DNA) over each other for comparison enables matching up of lines of genetic 'code' to each other where they overlap.

A number of these analyses have been done and many species overlap. The manner of the occurrences of the overlap are good evidence for evolution as well as the length of time between small changes that over millions of years appear to be larger.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
Actually I did NOT write that correctly. It should have read "I'm QUITE sure the only reason you don't murder people as an atheist ISN'T because you're afraid of the law"

Apologies...sincerely. It's early and it's Friday...
Not a problem. Had to soapbox that comment just in case it wasn't a typo, but I figured it was. Very few people would have the lack of sense to post something like that intentionally.
Donutz
5 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
@QC and @kevinrts:

Please show some evidence -- any evidence at all -- of the existance of a deity or deities. Then show some proof that it's YOUR deity, and that it wrote or dictated the bible.

The two of you, like all creationists, continue to think that you can "win by default" by just picking at evolution enough. If you ever DO manage to come up with something that isn't self-delusional crap, all you'll do is cause scientists to modify evolutionary theory or replace it with another scientific theory. At some point, you have to ACTUALLY show some proof IN FAVOUR or your preferred superstition. Until you do, you're about as effective as the lice in this article.

Good luck with that.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
I do not know that I would have used a lice analogy. As evidenced by their survival to the present, it can be seen that they have been pretty effective. Just saying... :)
Donutz
not rated yet Jan 07, 2011
I do not know that I would have used a lice analogy. As evidenced by their survival to the present, it can be seen that they have been pretty effective. Just saying... :)


:-) Yeah, but not effective at the battle against the EVIL of EVOLUTION! Or is it EVILUTION? Oh god, I've just given the theists another catch-phrase! Kill me now...
Nyloc
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
Do Americans realize how utterly ridiculous they appear to the rest of the Western World when a science website degrades into Creationist babble every time the word "evolve" is mentioned?

The Creationist debate was settled long ago in science and many times in the Public Forum. If theists insist on clinging to their dogma, they best retreat from the "evolution debate" and settle with "primary origins". This is where the mystery remains and they can posit that a deity created the primal universe and much later created the very first life-form, using evolution as the differentiating process.

Science will no doubt erode these mysteries, as it has done so many others, leaving dogma little to cling to. But its far better to accept scientific facts than to live in the Dark Ages of belief/mindlessness and scripture/dogma.
Argon
1 / 5 (7) Jan 07, 2011
But its far better to accept scientific facts than to live in the Dark Ages of belief/mindlessness and scripture/dogma.


Being forced to accept the "scientific facts" of the day is what caused the Dark Ages to happen at all.

Except this time, intead of the religious political powers oppressing science, it's the new evolutionary agenda at work.

Can't you see that you're becoming the very thing that you think you're fighting so hard against?

Wake up! The Dark Ages are what you're living in when the main stream is no longer allowed to be challenged and when all dissenters are ridiculed and outed.

I see no beauty in such a system, the raptures of knowledge cannot be enjoyed within it, because it maintains a bitter cloud hanging over head that polutes our logic and drowns our reason in the mud.

So what to do? Refocus ourselves upon the raptures of knowledge that first inticed us to such inquiries. For science doesn't hang on evolution, evolution hangs on science!
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2011
Do Americans realize how utterly ridiculous they appear to the rest of the Western World when a science website degrades into Creationist babble every time the word "evolve" is mentioned?


Does the rest of the world still not understand that Americans don't care what they think? Where have you been the last ten years?

Science will no doubt erode these mysteries, as it has done so many others, leaving dogma little to cling to. But its far better to accept scientific facts than to live in the Dark Ages of belief/mindlessness and scripture/dogma.


Indeed. As it is also far better when communicating with people not to call them ridiculous when trying to honestly endeavor to change their opinions.
Nyloc
5 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
Being forced to accept the "scientific facts" of the day is what caused the Dark Ages.


Argon
You misunderstand Science if you think that it is dogma. The very foundations of the discipline is “scepticism”. The theories that it posits are built not on blind "belief" and “ancient texts”, but on verifiable experiments, discovered evidence and quantifiable data (facts).

…The Dark Ages are what you're living in when the mainstream is no longer allowed to be challenged and when all dissenters are ridiculed and outed.


The "Creationism Myth" was but one of the doctrines that theocracies imposed during the Dark Ages. Like the "Flat Earth Myth", it has been refuted by Enlightenment.
There IS beauty in science! There's constant questioning and refinement of ideas and a cascade of new knowledge. As a reader of this website, you must know this! By all means, question scientific theories, but don’t try to replace them with supernatural morality tales.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Jan 07, 2011
You misunderstand Science if you think that it is dogma.


So, for the sake of argument, a scientist tomorrow came up with sound evidence that human beings were definitively not responsible for rising global temperatures there would be no irrational reaction from any other climatologist?

Be honest :-)
DamienS
5 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
Except this time, intead of the religious political powers oppressing science, it's the new evolutionary agenda at work.

There's an evolutionary agenda???
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
What if God does exist and the Bible is true?

In that case I would certainly want to avoid going to hell forever.


First time I've seen Pascal's wager outside of YouTube. What happens if you die and there is a god and it's not yours? In that case you are screwed like any atheist would be. Except, some religions allow non-believers to go to heaven, but choosing another god over them immediately denies you that heaven. So in that case, you're worse off than an atheist or agnostic. Those bibles stories never happened. They may be based on real events, but the real events were ordinary and mundane, not supernatural. Evolution is real, go watch a video by Ken Miller on YouTube. He's a Christian but is also an evolutionary biologist who testified in the Dover trials.
Nyloc
5 / 5 (5) Jan 07, 2011
So, for the sake of argument, a scientist tomorrow came up with sound evidence that human beings were definitively not responsible for rising global temperatures there would be no irrational reaction from any other climatologist?


Scientists are emotional beings, I'll admit, but the “discipline of science” would require a close look at the new evidence and a re-examination of the theory if necessary.

At this stage, with the strong body of evidence across so many disciplines, challenges to the theory would have to be VERY solid and explain the whole body of evidence AND PREDICT MORE, to be accepted as a worthwhile new theory.

You see, evidence constitutes all the facts and theories explain them. A new theory would have to meet that same test. It would also have to be useful enough for prediction.
ekim
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2011
There are two excellent evidences for the length of time involved and for evolution over time. These two things are sedimentary rock formations and phylogenetic analysis.

My favorite evidence is the fact I can see the stars. I love seeing creationists debate the speed of light or the fact the earth travels around the sun.
Barrett
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2011
Do Americans realize how utterly ridiculous they appear to the rest of the Western World when a science website degrades into Creationist babble every time the word "evolve" is mentioned?


Last time I checked, the western world has quite a few issues of their own that makes them appear rediculous as well. This statement almost makes it seem you think the western world is somehow better than America in this aspect? It's this thought process that us in America get accused of all the time. Besides, it's sad to generalize all of America to a few peoples comments on a forum, of which, who is to say every person who brings up creationism is from America anyhow?
Barrett
not rated yet Jan 08, 2011
Oops, ended up quoting my whole post. That's what I get for posting from work!
Skepticus
3 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2011
Mention God once will bump up the commentingt traffic on the site 1000%. No wonder He doesn't bother to come back. The ruckus is deafening..!
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2011
You misunderstand Science if you think that it is dogma.


So, for the sake of argument, a scientist tomorrow came up with sound evidence that human beings were definitively not responsible for rising global temperatures there would be no irrational reaction from any other climatologist?

Be honest :-)

If sound evidence came out to that effect, we'd change the theories.

Dogma doesn't change. Big difference there MM.
Nyloc
3.6 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2011
Mention God once will bump up the commenting traffic on the site 1000%...

I'd really like to see the stats on this website. My guess is that the most vigorous response traffic follows features on:
1) Climate Change theory - 2000% increase in traffic
2) Evolution theory - 1000% increase
3) Big Bang theory - 500%

You'll note that these are all "theories". This means that they are refined by scientific inquiry and open to new empirical evidence. It does NOT mean that they are "dogma" and similarly it does not mean that other "dogma" can legitimately replace them.

My hope for this website is that it would be a forum for Science. Other websites would be more appropriate forums for Religion and Conspiracy.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
You misunderstand Science if you think that it is dogma.


So, for the sake of argument, a scientist tomorrow came up with sound evidence that human beings were definitively not responsible for rising global temperatures there would be no irrational reaction from any other climatologist?

Be honest :-)

If sound evidence came out to that effect, we'd change the theories.

Dogma doesn't change. Big difference there MM.


Patently false.

There are Christians today who believe the universe was created 13.7 billion years ago, that we evolved from lower life forms, that the Earth isn't at the center of anything, that it wasn't created in six days etc etc...I know because I'm one of them.
Modernmystic
1.4 / 5 (7) Jan 08, 2011
My hope for this website is that it would be a forum for Science. Other websites would be more appropriate forums for Religion and Conspiracy.


You mean like a circle jerk where all like minded people can pat themselves on the back for agreeing with each other? Suits you...
eachus
1 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
As science explains some ailment being caused by bacteria and not demons, or celestial motion explained by gravity then they cross out that part of the doctrine.


Not really. There are miracles in the Bible that can be explained by more modern science and technology such as the Heimlich maneuver, and natural gas leaks from the ground creating both "burning bushes" that are not consumed, and acting as a loudspeaker.

Does this make the Bible less "true"? No. Any writing always goes through a couple of filters. The authors may not have perfect words available to describe what they see. And the eventual reader may have a very different understanding of the words they read. Translators add to the potential disconnect.

So one of the biggest miracles of the Bible is that it is still widely read, and understandable to modern readers. Very few books from even two hundred years ago can claim that. (Yes, I have read dozens of books that are hundreds or thousands of years old...)
rgwalther
5 / 5 (4) Jan 09, 2011
What the hell again does all this religious lunacy have to do with body lice?
The real question is very important and must be tested ASAP. If body lice only exist because of people wearing clothes, then we should be able to exterminate all body lice by outlawing clothing wearing by people. You can still have clothing, you just won't be allowed to wear it. This will also eliminate many other modern concerns, including: (1) concealed weapons problems (2) does size matter issues (3) are her tits really that big (4) housing price deflation in warm climates (5) Chinese garment worker exploitation by WalMart and many more important issues of our troubled era.
Chilko
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011


The invading lampreys and the tallow trees have been so successful, and without evolution, that we have entire government organizations devoted to trying to stop their spread.

What makes these people thing lice would be any different?

Lice are parasitic insects. They need a specific host. In the case of Human head lice, they only roost on human head hair. Or, in case of clothing lice, that only live in clothing, and since humans are the only ones that wear clothing.
Unlike your tree and lamprey who can find a patch of dirt and pool of water to live in, these are found pretty much everywhere on our planet? no?
Genetics prove that head hair lice were first, then the clothing lice as we started wearing clothing, lice figured out a way to have more space to live, mmmh evolution. Move to the clothing. It's quite simple.
Occum's razor. read about it.

Terrible_Bohr
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
There are miracles in the Bible that can be explained by more modern science and technology such as the Heimlich maneuver, and natural gas leaks from the ground creating both "burning bushes" that are not consumed, and acting as a loudspeaker. Does this make the Bible less "true"? No.


Until you apply it to the notion of god, himself. The laws of physics can explain away the need for a creator, so if you've already started down that slope....
flipper184
1 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
So, I have a little trouble with migrating over the entire habitable surface of planet Earth in 170,000 years.That's spreading out pretty darn rapid.
Fakeer
3 / 5 (2) Jan 10, 2011
How about rating everything related to QC, including responses with one star. That way I can move my slider to 4 and get rid of all the BS .... including this one.
frajo
5 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2011
So, I have a little trouble with migrating over the entire habitable surface of planet Earth in 170,000 years.That's spreading out pretty darn rapid.
That's 6800 generations of 25 years each. No problem.
Mesafina
5 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2011
Quantum Conundrum, maybe you should spend less time playing starcraft and more time studying reality
rgwalther
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2011
Quantum Conundrum, maybe you should spend less time playing starcraft and more time studying reality

StarCraft isn't REAL??!!!! What about my high scores? I can see them.
rgwalther
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
So, I have a little trouble with migrating over the entire habitable surface of planet Earth in 170,000 years.That's spreading out pretty darn rapid.

Do you mean the lice spreading or the people spreading? I missed something as usual. Why don't you write in Klingon, like normal troglodyte geeks?
super
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2011
Would a fig leaf count as clothing?
Then we now also have an accurate time for the first apple eaten.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2011
What the hell again does all this religious lunacy have to do with body lice?
Both involve parasites?

Patently false.

There are Christians today who believe the universe was created 13.7 billion years ago, that we evolved from lower life forms, that the Earth isn't at the center of anything, that it wasn't created in six days etc etc...I know because I'm one of them.
That simply means that you don't pay attention to dogma.
kivahut
1 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2011
Where's the rest of our history? We only have records dating back about 5000 years. Where's the other 165,000?
Terrible_Bohr
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2011
Where's the rest of our history? We only have records dating back about 5000 years. Where's the other 165,000?

They come from sources other than the bible.
Dr_Tom
1 / 5 (3) Jan 11, 2011
This system was built 50 K ago,so no 170 K,and "EVeryone" who came here was wearing clothes.
If you do not agree with "THem" you are a heretic,and what are YOU doing still functioning(It is stardate 52,010 by the way) with the same old,old information that does not have any function at all except to the Leviathon ministering of everyone, for the slaughter of the lambs.
rgwalther
3 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2011
Ground control to Dr Tom, take your protein pills and put your helmet on....
Ground control to Dr Tom, your circuits dead, there's something wrong...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2011
That simply means that you don't pay attention to dogma.


Sorry SH, we're going to have to agree to disagree. If you don't think the Church has changed in the last hundred years I'm not going to be able to have a meaningful discussion with you about the subject.
Skepticus_Rex
2 / 5 (8) Jan 12, 2011
Where's the rest of our history? We only have records dating back about 5000 years. Where's the other 165,000?

When people were hunters/gatherers there was no need for written records and man did not know how to write much less use writing to keep track of things. They did draw pictures in caves before that time, though.

Writing was believed to have been invented when there was a perceived need for written communication and recordkeeping. And, if the archaeological find reported in 1999 holds up regarding tortoise shells in China with written symbols, at least one culture felt the need for use of written symbols 8,600 years ago.

The problem with archaeology is that we are lucky when we find things because most stuff gets destroyed, especially when the cultures use perishables more than more obdurate materials. That does not necessarily mean that a thing did not exist because the ground does not attest it with discoveries to the current date.
Skepticus_Rex
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2011
It is also now known that body lice are head lice that transition into clothing. They have modified morphology that occurs and facilitates the changeover from hair to clothing. But, according to a news article at National Geographic they are not different species.

The actual study is interesting reading, to be sure. Indeed, body lice derive from head lice so at least the foundation of the above Physorg article can be demonstrated. The other study mentioned by me above also showed that what may trigger morphological changes is bad hygiene. Body lice apparently exist but because of clothing and hygiene.

By studying lice a genetic clock can be devised by comparison of genomes of lice across populations, as appears to be stated, and counting up mutations in DNA across the strains. Differences between then can be back-calculated, and counted by the multiple of the time it takes for mutations to occur in a certain part of the genome, a rate believed by proponents to be fairly constant.
Dr_Tom
1 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2011
No helmets needed for me,I stand by the dating, and also share this actual fact, "There are only"manmade" mountains on this planet and seeking the answer is the proper eticut,and they wore clothes also when doing that "Process" here.
"Where have all the good minds gone,Long time passing" with a little do-re- mi you can all sing along.
Skepticus_Rex
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2011
Hey, it looks like MikeyK is back with more sockpuppet trolls, another stale old one by the name of 'treemikey.' He has taken to one-ranking posts supportive of evolution among his usual targets of one-ranking. Interesting, no? :)

Well, treemikey/MikeyK, do you reject evolution, then? That seems odd considering how you used to post with all your sockpuppets in the past...

Otherwise, proceed to debunk what I have said about the subject, if you can. :)
rgwalther
1 / 5 (1) Jan 29, 2011
@skeptic heretic

Know this! I'd rather be a pedantic douchebag saved by the grace of God than to be a skeptic heretic dead in his sins!

SHAZAM!!! I grant your request. You are now and forevery a pedantic and pathetic douchebag. All hail Jomnby!