'Fossil eel' squirms into the record books

Aug 17, 2011
An handout picture release by the Natural History Museum & Institute of Chiba shows a new species of eel found in the gloom of an undersea cave which is a "living fossil" astonishingly similar to the first eels that swam some 200 million years ago, biologists reported.

A new species of eel found in the gloom of an undersea cave is a "living fossil" astonishingly similar to the first eels that swam some 200 million years ago, biologists reported on Wednesday.

The strange find was made last year in a 35-metre- (113-feet) deep fringing-reef cave off an island in the Western Pacific state of Palau, they said in the British journal .

The small brown fish has very few of the anatomical characteristics of modern eels, a vast range whose 819 species are grouped into 19 families.

In contrast, it has many hallmarks of primitive eels which lived in the early Mesozoic era, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

The similarities include a disproportionately large head, a short compressed body, collar-like openings on the gills, rays on the caudal fin and a tip called a premaxilla.

Graphic on a newly discovered species of eel found in an undersea cave in the Pacifc

The find is so exceptional that the eel not only has been honoured as a separate species, Protoanguilla palau. It also occupies the only niche in a freshly-created taxonomic family, Protoanguillidae.

The name comes from the Greek word "protos," meaning first, and the Latin word for eel, anguilla.

The discovery was made in March last year by a team led by Masaki Miya of the and Institute in Chiba, Japan.

Using hand nets and lamps, they collected eight specimens, about six to nine centimetres (three to four inches) long, and carried out to assess the fish's place in the eel genetic history.

So far, P. palau has only been found in this one location, but it may well have a far wider distribution, according to the study.

The term "" was coined by in his book On the Origin of Species.

It is used to describe species that have survived for millions of years, exploiting niches that are so stable that there is little pressure on them to evolve.

Explore further: Feline fame in cyberspace gives species a boost

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First images of 4 new spiny eels

Feb 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The first images of live individuals of 4 new spiny eels are revealed by a Natural History Museum scientist today.

Where have all the lake eels gone? Queen's prof asks

Dec 14, 2007

A Queen’s University environmental scientist will head a new international study to determine whether American eels – the slimy, snake-like fish considered worldwide to be a food delicacy – are dying from chemical pollution ...

Team to study eels' disappearance

Jan 01, 2008

An environmental scientist at Queen's University in Canada will lead a study of whether chemical pollution is killing American eels in Lake Ontario.

Will the eel survive its management?

Jun 07, 2011

The European eel is on the way to disappearing for good. The species is critically endangered, and there are strong scientific arguments for suspending all fishing. Despite this situation, Swedish eel fishery is allowed to ...

Recommended for you

The ants that conquered the world

Dec 24, 2014

About one tenth of the world's ants are close relatives; they all belong to just one genus out of 323, called Pheidole. "If you go into any tropical forest and take a stroll, you will step on one of these ...

Ants show left bias when exploring new spaces

Dec 23, 2014

Unlike Derek Zoolander, ants don't have any difficulty turning left. New research from the University of Bristol, UK published today in Biology Letters, has found that the majority of rock ants instinctively go lef ...

User comments : 58

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (21) Aug 17, 2011
It is used to describe species that have survived for millions of years, exploiting niches that are so stable that there is little pressure on them to evolve

Evolution is even more slippery than this eel. It fits all descriptions of anything that can happen under the sun.
So here we have a case of evolutionary stasis. A most beautiful, first-class oxymoron if ever there was one. There's actually hundreds of thousands of them. The reason they're not so well-known is that the people who discovered the species have given them totally different names to the modern versions - to the extend that one would not go looking or finding those "primitives" because there's very little if any association with the modern name for the same thing.
There hasn't been any evolution of this creature because there cannot be any evolution e.g. from this eel into a walrus for instance. When external pressures become too much to bear, any attempt to change identity simply results in death, not evolution.
epsi00
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 17, 2011
they survived until now. pretty soon they will find themselves listed in restaurants menus all across asia...leave nature alone, please don't discover new species because usually it's day one of their extinctions.
Techno1
1.2 / 5 (19) Aug 17, 2011
In this case, I would agree with Kevin.

How can one thing exist for eons with no evolution, while everything else allegedly changed so much?

exploiting niches that are so stable that there is little pressure on them to evolve


BS.

The whole earth has allegedly gone from ice age to interglacial and back dozens of times in the alleged lifespan of this species.

Neither the ecosystem nor the niche could be stable over such insane changes, and anyone with any intelligence whatsoever would know this.

...astonishingly similar to the first eels that swam some 200 million years ago, biologists reported on Wednesday...

...In contrast, it has many hallmarks of primitive eels which lived in the early Mesozoic era, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth...


Right, it's just allegedly been around for 65 to 200 million years, and while 90-99.9% of all other life allegedly went extent (several times) during these eons, it's entire "niche" and ecosystem never changed.
Techno1
1 / 5 (18) Aug 17, 2011
Can ANYONE admit the self contradiction of evolutionary theory?

I mean damn, just look at that BS.

If the environment changed, then the niche changed.

How could the niche not change when 99.9% of all species that have ever lived in that alleged time spand have supposedly gone extinct?

the whole concept of a "niche" is precisely defined by how the species interacts with the environment, ESPECIALLY OTHER LIFE FORMS.

That statement is therefore representative of a complete self-contradiction in evolutionary theory.

You can't claim that the whole planet changed, and 99.9% of life on it went extinct in one part of your theory, and then claim in another part of the theory that whole niches were unaffected and survive unchanged or nearly unchanged for eons (see also coelecanth).

Lies.
Y8Q412VBZP21010
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 17, 2011
Can ANYONE admit the self contradiction of evolutionary theory?[/q[

Let me think that over for a minute ...

...

...

...

No.

You see, no matter how many "gaps" the critics find in evo science, the creationist alternative is logically in the same ballpark with "babies are delivered by the stork".

Mind you, I don't care if anyone buys evo science or not, if somebody doesn't want to believe it, there's no law saying they have to.

But saying scientists agree with creationists, or for that matter fail to see creationism as anti-science, is really, y'know, not supported by the evidence. I have no doubt that if I canvass the biology department of any sensible university (no, Biola doesn't count) they will tell me such.

Now if you wanna say dem experts don't know nuthin', fine, but if I'm interested in learning something about biology I'm not going to go to creationists for illumination.
Scottingham
4.7 / 5 (13) Aug 17, 2011
Techno1, I see you on this site on many stories spouting off assertions like you were an expert, with no supporting evidence or cites. These comments just exemplified your true colors.

They were found in deep underwater caves. I would say that those niches could remain stable if there is an ice age...on land...or if a comet hit, or a virus were to spread...on land.

That said, these scientists aren't claiming that zero evolution has happened, just not a large amount. I'm sure if you were to take the DNA of the ancestors of these eels and compared it to their modern day decedents, you would find quite a large amount of variation.

Techno1, at the end of the day, how do you know what is true? Are you a man of immutable faith or one that draws conclusions based on past evidence and revises said conclusions when new evidence arrives?
Ojorf
3.9 / 5 (11) Aug 17, 2011
This is a great discovery, niches in the ocean are also much more stable for longer, but if a species is well adapted a change in the conditions does not guarantee the species must change, at least not morphologically. Most of evolution is not visible on the outside.
It's not a question of 'wanting to believe' in evolution, that's the domain of religion, it is just a fact, that any rational person with enough knowledge has to accept. That's just the way the world works. The only reason to doubt is through a lack of understanding which anyone with web access can easily remedy.
Yellowdart
2.3 / 5 (10) Aug 17, 2011
That said, these scientists aren't claiming that zero evolution has happened, just not a large amount.


Well that's not different than what most creationist claim. It's the "large amount" that gets criticized.

If you wish to test the theory fully. Take this "living fossil" drop it into a modern eel environment, and see not only if it can survive, but survive long enough to produce offspring that evolve to similar modern eel species.

But a creationist doesn't argue that even. A creationist argues that sure, an evolution for the eel is fine, but please call me when it gives birth to an eel with legs capable of walking on land. That degree of variation has never been proven. It's just guess work because of similarities, not direct observation.

Evolution occurs at reproduction. And species only have a few generations at most to adapt to a new environment. They are only going to adapt to the GIVEN environment, not one they aren't subjected to. (i.e. land)
Scottingham
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 17, 2011
Yellowdart: look up lung fish. Or amphibians.
Yellowdart
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2011
Yellowdart: look up lung fish. Or amphibians.


What about a lungfish? Are you about to tell me that "flying fish" became birds? Are you going to ignore many other fish like the betta that breathe air too, or like the walking catfish that can wiggle across land?

Lungfish enter the fossil record, diverse, and well formed already. Which came first, lung or gill? There is a vast difference between a tetrapod and the gravity/balance/weight it has to handle verses a fish fin that can help wiggle a fish over muddy land.

So back to my point. A fish (like any other animal), will find it's best environment. So when the environment changes, where will it go? It will recede with the water. It is far easier to remain a fish than to guess at how to have tetrapod like legs, or to live without remaining moist (like even mudskippers and lungfish

Further, it can't even consider it. Lungfish, moving across land, aren't reproducing then. It's like your trying to assign DNA, ESP.
Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2011
Would you like to discuss the flying squirrel and bats?

Creationism is simply in denial of reality. Lung fish are not closely related to the ancestors of land vertebrates. Those were most closely related to the modern coelocanth.

Are you about to tell me that "flying fish" became birds?
Are you going to claim anyone actually said that?

Which came first, lung or gill?
The gill did. Lungs do not appear to have evolved from gills.

So when the environment changes, where will it go?
It can move, adapt or go extinct. All of those can be seen in the fossil record. The ancestors of fish started in fresh water. They had to adapt to do so.

Mutations happen. Selection happens. Evolution must therefor occur. There is no magic stopping major change over time. There is nothing stopping new species from evolving.

Nor is there any evidence that world is young or that the Great Flood occurred ever much less wiping out the Egyptians.

Ethelred
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (11) Aug 17, 2011
The evolutionist concept of biological systems is complete nonsense and lunacy.

For God's sake, go outside and look at real environments.

Outside is an evergreen forest. Three of the pines along the edge of this field here are DEAD. They are eaten alive by bugs. All the trees come from the same seed stock. Right in the middle of them is the tallest, healthiest look tree in the entire line of sight.

Evolution and "adaptation" has nothing to do with that.

Random chance killed some, for no reason whatsoever, and left an equally "adapted" specimen standing right in the middle of it, for no good reason.

Genetics had nothing to do with it. Had the insect landed on that tree first, it'd be just as dead. Had the lightning hit the one and not the other, it'd be just as dead.

Had the shark randomly attacked the bait fish to the left, instead of the one to the right, it too would be just as dead.
Y8Q412VBZP21010
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 17, 2011
The evolutionist concept of biological systems is complete nonsense and lunacy.


So ... tell me again about babies and storks, OK?
Ethelred
4 / 5 (8) Aug 17, 2011
For God's sake, go outside and look at real environments.
Done it. Still have yet to see evidence for a world wide miles deep flood.

Evolution and "adaptation" has nothing to do with that.
Has everything to do with it. You have just described the selection process.

qually "adapted" specimen standing right in the middle of it, for no good reason.
No. It was resistant to the bugs.It will reproduce.

Genetics had nothing to do with it.
Sure it did. The right mutation of those genes and a tree becomes unpalatable for the bugs.

Genetics had nothing to do with it.
Random chance is part of the evolutionary process. It has the most effect with small populations and very little with large populations.

Had the shark randomly attacked the bait fish to the left,
Had you actual evidence for the Flood you would post it. Sharks however don't normally attack randomly so why did you make up something unrealistic. Because nothing realistic supports you.>>
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2011
The only example you gave that had real randomness at all in it was the lighting strike. And even that isn't random as lightning is more likely to destroy the tallest tree. But a tall tree had to exist long enough to reproduce many times to reach that hight. The genes that allowed it survive that long are thus carried on in the next generation. With mutations.

Megatons of fossils and large numbers of lab experiments and field observations are not going to away because you posted some stuff you didn't even understand. If you want to show that the world is young and there was a Great Flood then you have to produce evidence. Which seems to be very difficult as I have yet to someone actually produce any. In ten years of discussing this online I have never seen any credible evidence that supports the Creationist Genesis based view of the world. I have seen many posts that were even sillier than yours. Many by Kevin.

Ethelred
LuckyBrandon
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 17, 2011
the environment may change....but just because an oasis dries up, doesnt mean those lifeforms won't just move to the other oasis, thereby still occupying the same niche without a necessity for change. if you scraped crap off the ocean floor, you probably wouldnt need to change much to do so over millions of years....but if something happened to that ocean floor, and you had to scrape crap off of rock faces higher up in the depths, the pressure would be different, as would lighting, etc, and that would be a prime time for adaptation to their new environment. the point is, not every species has this necessity, just as darwin accurately stated.
ethelred is dead on...your own children are a combination of their parents plus mutation...this is a well established fact...
LuckyBrandon
1 / 5 (1) Aug 17, 2011
oh and cancer is a mutation btw....
DavidMcC
4 / 5 (5) Aug 18, 2011
Kevinrtrs:"There hasn't been any evolution of this creature because there cannot be any evolution e.g. from this eel into a walrus for instance."

Kevin, why don't you learn something about evolution for a change, instead of spouting stuff that just makes you look stupid? I know this may be difficult, given that you have an emotional block against the very idea of it, but if you could work on that, it would pay dividends, and you wouldn't be such a laughing stock.
ScienceLust
not rated yet Aug 18, 2011
Another god injured by knowledge.I thought we all knew that Dogon created this fish to shock jesus to death.
DavidMcC
not rated yet Aug 18, 2011
Actually, Kevin, a somewhat more ancient eel than this one, the hagfish, probably is the ancestral species to all the extant vertebrates, including walruses, and all the rest. Like protoanguilla palau, the hagfish live in the deep sea, and have changed very little phenotypically in hundreds of millions of years - living fossils. But some couldn't remain, I suspect, when Gondwana drifted across the south pole and got covered in a huge quantity of ice, forcing sea levels down enormously, over millions of years. This forced a population of hagfish to survive in places where they would rather not even try - where there was enough light for predators to see them.
Javinator
5 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2011
Genetics had nothing to do with it.


Survival of both bugs and trees would depend on evolved genetic characteristics of both species. It could depend on gestation period/spawn produced for the bugs, for example, and on the reproductive abilities of the trees (how many seeds are released, how far the seeds travel, how many take root, how fast they grow, etc. Other factors would also apply (deliciousness of the trees for example).

Once a balance is reached, the species appear to stop evolving because there's no selection pressure any more and both species survive and reproduce well enough 'as is'. It doesn't mean no members of either species will ever die simply because they've reached an equilibrium within that ecosystem.

Introduction of a new species of bug would put selection pressures on both the trees and the existing bugs which would have to evolve to cope or face extinction since the equilibrium has been disrupted.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2011
Those were most closely related to the modern coelocanth.


Well aware.

But by what mechanism, can a coelocanth (or it's ancestor), consider land? How does it's DNA consider reproducing more like a tetrapod, when it is far easier to be a better fish, especially since that is it's environment. The modern coelocanth is largely unchanged from it's 300 million year old fossils, just like this eel.

Creationism is simply in denial of reality.


Claiming extrapolation based on similarities is a fairy tale. We may both own the same exact pair of Nike's, bought from the same athletic store. But mine may be made in Vietnam, and yours in China. Similarity, does not prove, origin or even succession (ancestry).

It can move, adapt or go extinct.


Agreed.

All of those can be seen in the fossil record.


Disagree. Dead bones show death. They do not show movement, or adaptation, nor can they prove extinction.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2011
Mutations happen. Selection happens. Evolution must therefor occur. There is no magic stopping major change over time. There is nothing stopping new species from evolving.


If there is no limit on it's scope, then why are millions of years even necessary?

If evolution is just the variation in reproduction, why assume it must be gradual?

You can't have the cake and eat it to here. Either evolution is unlimited, or it has limits. And if it has limits on the amount of change then you can't assume a fish can become a tetrapod without direct observation.

Nor is there any evidence that world is young or that the Great Flood occurred ever much less wiping out the Egyptians.


Who claims it wiped out the Egyptians? Egypt developed afterwards by just about any creationist standard.
Most fossils are found in SEDIMENTARY layers (never below for sure). A global flood, is a great mechanism for delivering sediment, globally, burying species and making fossils out of them.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2011
Tiktaalik, flying squirrels, bats, mudskippers are all well suited for their environment. Every species found, is already well suited for it's environment. And they will seek that environment, long before they reproduce or can even consider an environment dramatically opposed to it's way of life.

If you drop this eel from the article, back into the open water, it's going to go seek out an undersea cave. It's going to find the environment that it's already well suited to.

But fine, assume it's forced to remain in open water and even able to reproduce. By what mechanism can or does DNA even recognize it's not able to be a cave dwelling eel anymore?? That it must adapt to open water. And in so doing, why would it ever become anything other than just an open water eel??

Mutation and Selection does not consider what characteristics the parent sees or acquires (like muscles). You cant direct what your kids will look like or how athletic they'll be just by watching the NFL.
DavidMcC
5 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2011
Yellowdart: "If you drop this eel from the article, back into the open water, it's going to go seek out an undersea cave. It's going to find the environment that it's already well suited to."

Absolutely. Evolution tends to occur when they seek, yet can't find, yet also manage somehow to survive in the less-than-ideal circumstances, for enough generations that beneficial genomic changes improve their adaptation to the new environment.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (4) Aug 18, 2011
Right, David. I don't think any creationist would disagree with that. Evolution is a remarkable mechanism for repopulation post biblical Flood. You have an established baseline of species, under new environments, mostly not ideal, but not enough that many couldn't survive initially.


Creationists don't argue adaptation. They argue that such gradual changes have never been proven to lead to anything on the scale of some fish (or it's ancestor), becoming a tetrapod. Why? Because dry land is NEVER a fish's environment and especially not it's reproductive environment. An eel, and the eel's DNA, will want it to be the best eel in it's given water environment. Not the best tetrapod for another env.

It is a fair criticism of gradualism, whether by some creationist or anyone else. And if you actually read evolutionists over the last 20-30 years, you can see the slow death of gradualism. The move is back toward Catastrophism (well as long as the Flood is still excluded).
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2011
Claiming extrapolation based on similarities is a fairy tale.
Claiming your fractured fairy tale is true despite the complete absence of evidence to support it, is delusional. The fact that millions accept this delusion as reality is only a testament to how well-conceived it is.

Not the creation stuff - thats obvious silliness. But the promise of immortality and the absolution of guilt are so COMPELLING, that believers will gladly surrender their reason, and their dignity, for it.

Dogs will do backflips for free food. You will believe fairy tales and slaughter heretics for your daily bread.

"35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." john6

Arf arf
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2011
Why? Because dry land is NEVER a fish's environment and especially not it's reproductive environment.


"Grunions, native only to the shores of Southern California, are the only known fish to lay its eggs on land. Between March and August, they come onshore in ..."

In... little scuba outfits??

Maybe you just dont know near enough about animals or evolution to form a proper opinion?

-But then the bible tells you you dont have to, doesnt it? It gives you your opinions all precooked and prepackaged by chefs from 2000 yrs ago. Who didnt think anyone would ever know the difference.
Ethelred
2.8 / 5 (4) Aug 19, 2011
In... little scuba outfits??
No. They just ride the wave up the shore and then dig in to lay eggs at the high water point. And there are evil monster that are trying to catch them with their bate hands. I was one such evil monster on at least a couple of full moons and you are not allowed to use anything but bare hands. No machine guns, no barbed wired and definitely no 88s.

Somehow I was never at a major run. It varies from beach to beach and month to month as where the largest number storm the beaches. They need more planning and it would help if they could hire Robert Mitchum to kick them in the ass if they ever want to get off the beach.

Ethelred
DavidMcC
5 / 5 (3) Aug 19, 2011
Yellowdart , it just so happens that some fish evolved fins that they happened to be able to walk on, for whatever reason. Thus, they were pre-adapted to at least be able to haul themselves out of the water if they needed to, say, to lay eggs in a pool, out of the reach of egg-eaters. Various further adaptations would follow once they can do that. Eg, a primitive lung, so that they could stay out of the water for longer. And so it goes on...
Once you accept that a small group within one species can become another, it is only a small step to accepting that, over much longer periods, large differences can evolve.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Aug 20, 2011
When external pressures become too much to bear, any attempt to change identity simply results in death, not evolution.

That is not entirely true. While it is true that many inevitably do die, others do change to meet the demands imposed upon them by changes in their ecosystems. Many varieties of species can result from a single bird due to changes in diet and expansion/competition and so forth.

So-called "Darwin's Finches" are an excellent example of that kind of microevolution. Another example is the horse. Originally, it was a rodent-like creature a lot like a squirrel. Over time and many thousands of years it evolved into several varieties, most of which are now extinct. Some had five toes, some had four, some had three, and others only had one fused toe.

There is no such thing as macroevolution, just microevolution spread out over very long periods of time.
jsa09
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
Reading kevinrt or yellowdart is as rewarding as reading bugs bunny and about as logical as the road runner. When you guys can start to understand the process of logical deduction from a scientific view point instead of a politician view point then you may have a chance of making sense.

We know politicians distort the facts to support their view point. Scientists try and interpret the facts and develop points of view that match.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2011
Yellowdart , it just so happens that some fish evolved fins that they happened to be able to walk on, for whatever reason.


Which fish? No fish, has tetrapod legs. Species like mudskippers use their modified fins as support, but not for actual walking or running. The physics are entirely different.
Thus, they were pre-adapted to at least be able to haul themselves out of the water if they needed to, say, to lay eggs in a pool


The only known fish that lays eggs on "land" is the grunion which buries them during high tide...which is frankly, still in the groundwater, as they remain moist as the tide recedes.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
Once you accept that a small group within one species can become another, it is only a small step to accepting that, over much longer periods, large differences can evolve.


As small steps sure, but to say they can add up to substantial large changes, that is misleading. The jump from a cane used for support and to actual mechanical motion meant to run and walk on is tremendous. Millions of genes have to evolve and it has to get it right and it has to get it right over multiple offspring within a few generations. How does DNA understand the physics involved? How does it reckon with an environment it is not yet exposed to?

If the change in the environment is really slow (like over millions of years), it is very easy to move to the consistent environment it is already adapted to. This is all the eel above has done.

Gradualism fails. It provides no incentive to change.
Yellowdart
1.3 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2011
When you guys can start to understand the process of logical deduction from a scientific view point instead of a politician view point then you may have a chance of making sense.


Ignoring your personal attack, let's go over what rational thought is. If a white dog bites a mailman, and you say "all white dogs hate mailmen", then you've produced an irrational thought. If instead you say, "that white dog hates that mailman", then you've begun with a rational thought.

From the proper thought, you can deduce logically. So in the case of evolution, we've only ever witnessed small changes, and the ones we have directly observed, have been quite rare. So rationally, we can agree on small changes. But to state that small changes over time would add up, is irrational, as it has not been directly observed, just assumed.
Yellowdart
1.7 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2011
We know politicians distort the facts to support their view point. Scientists try and interpret the facts and develop points of view that match.


Implying that scientists are immune to distortion of the facts or bias is irrational, and poor logical deduction.

Both scientists and politicians are men. Men are biased. Scientists and politicians are subject to the same temptations toward bias. The incentives may be different, but no one is immune.
Scottingham
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
"we've only ever witnessed small changes, and the ones we have directly observed, have been quite rare."

Wrong. Cancer is common, strange birth defects are 'rare' but still pretty common. This is just in humans.

A small change genetically can lead to a very large change functionally.

Also, "that white dog hates that mailman", is not a rational thought, it's an anthropomorphized observation.

You seem to have some trouble understanding speciation and evolution. Look at dog breeds. They all are descended from the wild wolf. Through evolution (albeit guided by human selective pressure versus nature selective pressure..but the same mechanisms are at work) we have both dobermans and chihuahuas. Try breeding a male doberman to a chihuahua. It won't work! If all the breeds of dog between doberman and chihuahua were to go extinct, then you would have two separate species.
Skepticus_Rex
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2011
Try breeding a male doberman to a chihuahua.

Give the chihuahua a fence to climb and stand on and it will try! I saw it happen right outside my kitchen window once. I don't know whether there were puppies later but it was funny as hell seeing a Chihuahua on a fence 'going-to-town' on a Great Dane that was backed up to the fence. It may not have worked but that Chihuahua sure gave it a shot.

In other news, as to the fact that some species don't change because they lack the stresses involved in change, and why don't all of them move when the stressors occur, Darwin said exactly what is being observed in such living fossils as this one. Fact is, they either died out in mass numbers with the changes in environment or genetic modifications that allowed survival enabled and caused the changes that we see. That is what drives speciation and we can see it in many life forms. The major difference between ape and human skulls' shapes is a single genetic mutation. Mutations always happen.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2011
to state that small changes over time would add up, is irrational, as it has not been directly observed, just assumed.

They do add up but there is a lot of death in-between. We are exceedingly lucky even to have fossils at all. But something of interest recently occurred. I do not know if the monkey of which I speak is still alive in that Israeli zoo, but she got very ill, and when she awoke from her viral illness she began walking almost exclusively upright.

Should she survive and bear young, the question remains as to what they will do seeing their mother walk upright. Over time, all that walking upright will result in skeletal changes in herself and descendents, a little at a time.

We got the awesome opportunity to see live evolution in motion. Well, those who were watching did, anyway. :)

http://www.youtub...SjngmnO8

And, no, this is not a hoax.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2011
Wrong. Cancer is common, strange birth defects are 'rare' but still pretty common. This is just in humans.


So you are using a destructive disease as the example? Defects?

We are talking about evolution which benefits, not destroys.

Further a genetic or immune system response does not require morphological change.

A small change genetically can lead to a very large change functionally.


Name species that have been witnessed in nature to have produced a brand new species, under direct observation. In other words, contemporary species.

Also, "that white dog hates that mailman", is not a rational thought, it's an anthropomorphized observation.


Excuse me, "that white dog bites that mailman". How the dog feels toward the mailman would also just be inferred so you are correct.

You seem to have some trouble understanding speciation and evolution.


I have no trouble with speciation or evolution. I have a problem with the unproven extrapolation.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2011
Should she survive and bear young, the question remains as to what they will do seeing their mother walk upright. Over time, all that walking upright will result in skeletal changes in herself and descendents, a little at a time.


Acquired traits are not transferable by definition of standard evolutionary theory. In other words, you building muscles by working out, does not give your child said muscles when you produce offspring.

You could put an ape in a back brace and force it upright all day, and it would still produce the same ole apes. Teaching an ape sign language is not even transferable by the ape to it's young.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2011
Try breeding a male doberman to a chihuahua. It won't work!


Are you saying because one is taller? If the female is the doberman, it is quite possible. A female chihuahua would have possible physical constraints.

There isn't an impossibility because of egg/sperm though.

Usually the ability to crossbreed is an indication of close proximity of species. Mules/Tigons/Ligers can be produced even by slightly distinct species, but those cross breeds can't reproduce. A doberman and chihuahua are far closer than a tiger/lion combo or a horse/donkey. Better example is a dog mating with a wolf. You get a wolf dog, but the wolf dog doesn't reproduce.

For some reason yet unknown, the crossbreeding of such kills or turns off the ability to reproduce.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 23, 2011
The major difference between ape and human skulls' shapes is a single genetic mutation. Mutations always happen.


We didn't come from apes, but from a common ancestor with apes, as the evolutionary theory goes.

Our cranium is vastly different than apes. It takes far more than one mutation.

Even if you assume that one mutation, way back when, causes others to occur later, you have no direct observation or mechanism for the process. You are just assuming because it is similar that it must share an ancestor.

Sonar in dolphins and bats by evolutionary standards has arisen by different path ways and genes. No one assumes they share a common ancestor despite the similarity in Sonar.

Skepticus_Rex
2 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
Acquired traits are not transferable by definition of standard evolutionary theory. In other words, you building muscles by working out, does not give your child said muscles when you produce offspring.

You could put an ape in a back brace and force it upright all day, and it would still produce the same ole apes.

Generally, it seems to be the case. But, if the learned trait gives a survival advantage in the wild, those that are born to better use the learned trait will pass the trait physically. Again, see Darwin's finches as an example.
Teaching an ape sign language is not even transferable by the ape to it's young.

Not necessarily. See Gardner & Gardner 1989:25. An ape that learned only 8 to 10 signs began spontaneously using them in varying combinations. Later, one ape that learned sign language taught several other apes how to sign the same way. All continued to use sign language and teach it to other apes thereafter without human interference.
Skepticus_Rex
2 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
We didn't come from apes, but from a common ancestor with apes, as the evolutionary theory goes.

Our cranium is vastly different than apes. It takes far more than one mutation.

Even if you assume that one mutation, way back when, causes others to occur later, you have no direct observation or mechanism for the process. You are just assuming because it is similar that it must share an ancestor.

Sonar in dolphins and bats by evolutionary standards has arisen by different path ways and genes. No one assumes they share a common ancestor despite the similarity in Sonar.


That is where genetics comes in. We no longer just need to assume anything. The DNA can be overlaid and the loci of the mutations easily can be shown.

It is the same technique as that used in population genetics. You can overlay the DNA of descendents to determine a common ancestor. It works similarly in phylogenetic analysis. And, yes, one mutation resulted in weaker head muscles, altering shape.
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Aug 23, 2011
Other mutations followed as did other morphological changes that followed later. But, as a result of the "muscle" mutation, humans are considerably weaker, physically, than either a bonobo or a chimpanzee, notwithstanding sharing a common ancestor along the way.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2011
See Gardner & Gardner 1989:25


The issue isn't that they can communicate. The issue is language itself. Which requires vocabulary and grammar.

There are plenty of counter arguments to Gardner's work, and especially whether or not they just copy to satisfy a demand. Read Terrance, Aitchison, Chomsky.

But, if the learned trait gives a survival advantage in the wild, those that are born to better use the learned trait will pass the trait physically.


A "But" is just a hopeful fairy tale at this point. Plus, it was never a "learned" trait then. It was already ingrained in the DNA. It didn't require a mutation.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (2) Aug 23, 2011
We no longer just need to assume anything. The DNA can be overlaid and the loci of the mutations easily can be shown.


Genetics is far more than DNA though. The receptors, encoders, decoders, RNA, etc etc etc means that even if chimps and humans are only off 2%, that's still millions and billions of differences in the code.

It is the same technique as that used in population genetics. You can overlay the DNA of descendents to determine a common ancestor.


But that's not exactly what they do. To determine maternity, you look for the mitochondrial DNA which is unshuffled (no variation) and for paternity, you focus on the Y chromosome.

That works pretty good because the DNA between recent generations is very close for a given species.

You couldn't determine which apelike was your ancestor, without major extrapolation and assumption.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (3) Aug 23, 2011
And, yes, one mutation resulted in weaker head muscles, altering shape.


Simply because a gene provides the enablement of other genes, that gives a larger cranial space and smaller jaw, doesn't mean that it's an evolution, anymore than substituting Na in for K in a reaction with H20 will be.

It's biological laws, with a consistent biological structure.

If you and I bought the same pair of Nike's color, size, and all, it's because it is by the same manufacturing rules, not necessarily by the same factory (origin) or descent.

So animals, because they are built on DNA, will naturally have similarities. But accuracy of ancestorship can only go as far as we can directly observe. This is why most creationists have no trouble with adaptation and localization of variation in the genetic code. But there is no scientific proof for extrapolation of that over millions of years, except by wishful thinking from others.
Skepticus_Rex
2 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2011
Man, are you behind the times. mtDNA and y-chDNA are only the beginning. If you have common ancestors, you also can overlay autosomal DNA. It is time consuming and labor intensive, which is why most population studies don't reference autosomal DNA. All mtDNA harks back to a single bottlenecked female.

Larger cranial space and smaller jaw is exactly evolution. It is the evolving or changing into one form from another form.

Yes, you are right that it became engrained into the DNA. But, it did so due to change in the structure of the DNA. That exactly is evolution. With accumulation of changes in the DNA comes morphological changes. It is a biological law.

We would not be able to trace it back directly without a number of examples. So far as we know, the common ancestor between man and ape died out long ago. Get a good sample of aDNA, though, and you have something to work with, especially if the markers line up and fill the gap between man and ape.

I suggest continued education. :)
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
If you have common ancestors, you also can overlay autosomal DNA


Autsomal is still PERCENTAGE BASED and attempted to line with geography!!!! It's similarity, not necessarily descent. Which it is why it has been criticized in published articles among other reasons.

Autosomal is just the non-sex chromosomes. You are only widening the margin of error.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
http://www.dna-te...ing.html

They state it quite well. It's a shallower method, because it only is reasonable for relatively RECENT ancestors.

Ethelred
not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
relatively RECENT ancestors.
That is the only kind of ancestor you believe in. Unless you have recently come the conclusion that Genesis is wrong.

Ethelred
Ethelred
not rated yet Aug 25, 2011
That link you posted is for a CHEAP method of testing. It is limited to recent because it is cheap.

Autosomal is just the non-sex chromosomes.
JUST? In humans that is 47 out of 48. As opposed to just using sex chromosomes which is ONE out of 48 or mtDNA which is about 30 genes total. How the hell is that even remotely widening the error?

Ethelred
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
Larger cranial space and smaller jaw is exactly evolution. It is the evolving or changing into one form from another form.
With accumulation of changes in the DNA comes morphological changes.


Shaq is over twice my size. His morphology, does not necessarily make him a new species. His larger form, because of genetics and lack of inhibitors to his growth, do not make him a new species. His accumulation of change in size is still within the given human structure of DNA.

Identical twins have the same genotype. The same DNA. They are not decedent, one from the other.

The tree of life and phylogenics has been getting hammered since the 90s. It's becoming a web of life as the understanding and complexity of DNA, rRNA, etc grows. It is not a measure of descent, but of similar material or building blocks.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
That is the only kind of ancestor you believe in. Unless you have recently come the conclusion that Genesis is wrong.


And, what's your point? Multiple ancestors would be beneficial and possible even under evolutionary consideration. Why? Well how else would aliens be possible?
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2011
That link you posted is for a CHEAP method of testing. It is limited to recent because it is cheap.


Doesn't take away the point. You can find several papers on the criticisms against autosomal testing for long term geneology.

JUST? In humans that is 47 out of 48. As opposed to just using sex chromosomes which is ONE out of 48 or mtDNA which is about 30 genes total. How the hell is that even remotely widening the error?


Read Jennifer Hughes work (2010) on the Y chromosome between chimps and humans. There is a >30% difference compared to each other. The differences accounted for is on the scale of the differences between autosomal in chicken and humans.

Similarity does not = decent. Once you get outside of the initial ancestory, the amount of divergence is staggeringly large. Too large!! DNA evolves to make us better humans, or better chimps. It can not attempt to make us into something it can't consider, anymore than 2 2 = 5
Skepticus_Rex
1 / 5 (3) Sep 08, 2011
Yes, it does take away from the point. And, you don't go on the autosomal data alone. You have to make a lot of effort into placing all pieces of the puzzle, using mtDNA, nDNA from multiple lines of donors claiming relation or with postulated relation, ych-DNA, HLA-DNA, aDNA in all its forms, and a host of techniques for bringing these data together to build a case. It is a lot of work and expense and your example of cheap DNA testing doesn't fit this bill.

Layers of DNA data can be overlaid together to show relation. If the mutation rate were higher than is observed, however, that would be another story. But that is not what is observed.

Entire sections of DNA get swapped, deleted, and reduplicated, with genes mutated by substitutions and other sorts of phenomena that occur slowly and naturally. Over time this adds up and can be tracked with enough time, effort and money.

Again, I suggest continued education. :)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.