When we look at how evolution has taken us from eyeless blobs to moderately capable bloggers, it can seem like a vast, unknowable force. But when we look at individual traits and how they appear and disappear in clever ways, the functioning of cause and effect is clear, and fascinating, to see. People keep poisoning your lake? Well, Mr. Fish, why don't you develop a resistance to that poison, and pass it down to your kids? Bats keep ignoring your flower and pollinating others? Well, tropical vine, how about evolving an echolocation-reflecting satellite-dish-shaped leaf? We gathered a list of ten evolutions and adaptations that are either new or newly discovered, ranging from plants to animals to, yes, people. We're not perfect, either.
Click to launch a list of ten amazing evolutions.
A note: these examples span a few different types of changes, including individual mutations (as with the humans), learned behaviors (as with the Muscovite dogs), new adaptations (as with the cave fish) and newly discovered evolutions (as with the satellite-dish-shaped leaf). Think of this as more of an overview of how things can change rather than any particular argument.
Needlessly inflametory title. None of these are "evolutions." Using the term so poorly only muddies arguements for and against evolution - by mixing in non-genetic adaptation, hybridation, selective breeding, and selective pressure.
Several things come to mind as I read this article. First how adaptive all living things are. Second is the previous article of how many different living things that exist in our human bodies. Third point is Scottish Scientists Are Trying to Create Inorganic Life. To finally end and think about the movie " I am Legend ".
I just do wonder where human civilization will be in 20 or more years. It just gets more and more likely we will just eliminate ourselves, humans, even with good intentions of artificially making a virus in a lab to cure cancer or something.
What's your definition of evolution, then?
"Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
Tell them firmly:
I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
You are a terminal boob." - William S. Burroughs
Is the mere mentioning of evolution inflammatory? Well… perhaps to a creationist.
Evolution is pretty broadly defined. “change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of individuals.”
While I would say most of these are good examples of evolution in action; There are a few examples here that are clearly not evolution:
“Adapting to Radiation” – This is a change of an individual, not a change in a population. If the cardiologists children were born with a higher resistance to X-Rays, that would be evolution. Most likely, all humans have had this capability, even before the invention of the X-Ray machine.
“Moscow's Dogs Adapt to Ride the Subway” – This is most likely a shared/learned behavior, not inherited.
Evolution is a slow process happening over the course of thousands to millions of years. Every step in a particular direction is a small one and barely noticeable. If humans are still around a few tens or hundreds of thousands of years from now, we will barely be able to conceive of how much we've changed in a sense of evolution until we look at a photo.
Right now we don't have that luxury, so we assume our phisiology is exactly the same as it was a few thousand years ago. That's impossible due to the manipulations we've made through industrialism that has significantly altered the chemistry of this world (traces gases and mulitple forms of radiation).
Life in general is evolving with the change happening on this planet. We just don't see it in realtime.
There is a difference between adaptation and evolution. Evolution has never been observed and never will. Adaptation is natural to all living things, this does not indicate evolution. Fish might adapt to poison in their environment, they are not going to grow wings and fly out of the lake! Humans have adapted different skin colours to cope with the environments they live in, but they haven’t evolved into a whole new species.
I have to agree with oakspar on some of these. Some of these I think could be legitimate, such as the corn worm and the bedbug responding to environmental threats.
The human radiation coping is hardly evolution, at best if it is true an existing mechanism that we had simply not known of.
Also, the dogs did not 'evolve the ability to ride the subway'. It is interesting, and pretty clever, but not evolution.
Evolution doesn't happen at the same pace for a general population of species. The effects are unequal, but they eventually lead to a change for the entire species. It starts with genetic change in a small number. Reproduction passes on these genes to future generations in greater quantities creating an overall evolutionary change.
Another way to look at it is how the human race is collectively getting smarter, yet the intelligence levels of individuals and groups will always vary.
Adaptations are temporary. Evolution is permanent. BTW, fish sprouting wings is outlandish for the concept of evolution.
Again, these are bad examples. Humans'coping with radiation bombardment (which is brought through our modern technological transmissions) is an example based on the fact that you don't have to wear an environmental suit just to survive the physiological effects of radiowaves, microwaves, and alpha waves. We would be barely aware of physiological changes because technological advancement and exposure was slow enough to allow the change to happen.
As far as a dog being smart enough to ride a bus, while it may constitute some higher function not common to dogs, that's more of a conditioning issue than biological change over time.
To be more descriptive, evolution can happen as a byproduct of adaptation.
Here is an interesting Gallup poll on who does/does not believe in evolution.
While only 39% of American believe in evolution.
The more educated you are, the more likely you are to believe in evolution.
The more you attend church, the more likely you don’t believe in evolution.
@Aldrons Last Hope: “Evolution has never been observed and never will.”
That is a pretty profound statement when considering the mountain of evidence to the contrary (fossil record among other things). I think you might want to back it up with a little evidence. For example, you may want to start with addressing this question. When a species only exists in one tiny part of our Earth’s history, where (exactly) did it come from?
@Aldrons Last Hope: “Fish might adapt to poison in their environment, they are not going to grow wings and fly out of the lake!”
What if many things exist at once and so concept of origins is very confusing. Maybe evolution does exist with the earth being 4.7 billion years old. Maybe life on earth adapts as best as it can to a changing environment. Maybe in the history of the earth, there was Godly intervention and creation of humans. Maybe just one answer is not really THE answer to origins? And maybe there are other (unknowns) interfering elements to life on earth as well. Maybe its all correct at the same time.
That isn't flying! There is a big difference between gliding and flying. Evolution is just a CONSPIRACY.
BAM, evolution is a lie.
A tossed rock even flys, and a piece of folded paper can glide. The real trick is to put a human it and let him control the path of flight, rise, decent and land safely.
Now.... what are we talking about? ;)
^^^^^^Holy God there is not one conspiracy theory that you do not subscribe too is there?!
Don't dig yourself into that hole man. You don't have to agree with it, but conspiracy?!! Don't dig yourself into that hole. You saw what they did to BubbaGump.
Whatever it is, it's the direct result of cognitive evolution; advanced adaptation, and evolution of any kind is a byproduct of adaptation.
I'm surprised at this list- they're missing one very obvious, firmly proven piece of evolution in action:
Viruses and bacteria.
things like the flu can mutate (evolve) to resist vaccination... adaptation to environment in the first degree. That should at least be worth a mention.
BAM, evolution is fact!
@Aldrons Last Hope: The web link you posted does not present evidence for a competing theory. It simply tries (unsuccessfully) to poke holes in evolution’s evidence. Where is the physical evidence that supports creationism? This is a SCIENCE web site after all...
Everyone I've ever met/heard/read who doesn't believe in evolution fails to understand what evolution even means and the process by which it works.
I can adapt to cooler weather by becoming fatter. But, I've EVOLVED the ability to deal with warm weather by sweating.
The act of sweating is not evolution--the permanent ability to sweat as a way to deal with my environment is a RESULT of evolution.
A mouse becoming immune to poison and being able to pass on this trait to it's offspring is evolution plain and simple.
"Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
Tell them firmly:
I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
You are a terminal boob." - William S. Burroughs
“^^^^^^Holy God there is not one conspiracy theory that you do not subscribe too is there?!”
10 characteristics of conspiracy theorists
A useful guide by Donna Ferentes
5. Inability to employ or understand Occam's Razor. Conspiracy theorists never notice that the small inconsistencies in the accounts which they reject are dwarfed by the enormous, gaping holes in logic, likelihood and evidence in any alternative account.
6. Inability to tell good evidence from bad. Conspiracy theorists have no place for peer-review, for scientific knowledge, for the respectability of sources. The fact that a claim has been made by anybody, anywhere, is enough for them to reproduce it and demand that the questions it raises be answered, as if intellectual enquiry were a matter of responding to every rumour. While they do this, of course, they will claim to have "open minds" and abuse the sceptics for apparently lacking same.
Google for the other 8.
It's too bad mankind stopped evolving. Doesn't exactly stir hopes for the future.
The reason is simple: Before mankind became industrialized, or weaponized, his survival was dependent on him gaining brains to defend himself. But now all the idiots survive as we protect them equally so--give them welfare when needed--and they reproduce as much as healthy smart folks. So the end result is we don't have natural selection anymore to weed out the dumb from the smart so we stopped evolving our brains.
It's the truth!
"and they reproduce as much as healthy smart folks"
I tend to disagree. Think about all the smart people you know, and then think of all the dumb people you know. Who has more kids? Scary isn't it?
Evolution is change; it doesn't necessarily have to be for the better.
Main plot for Idiocracy?
For everyone not in the know its a movie. Not a very good one but it does paint a bleak picture of a future where are all smart people have become extinct and all the bottom feeders rule the earth. Due to the fact that alot of really intelligent couples have less than 2 children or no children at all. Where the bottom feeding, non educated people of society have 6+ kids.
LIFE AND EVOLUTION
1967—Michael Polanyi published an article in Chemical Engineering News, titled “Life Transcending Physics and Chemistry,” in which he told the already worried evolutionists that there was something in living creatures which transcended a mere collection of chemicals. There were irreducible higher principles of some kind at work in plants and animals. This opened up the frightening possibility that there might be a Higher Intelligence at work, and drew from evolutionists a volley of protests.
1969—Although the situation appeared threatening, evolutionists took fresh courage from the publication of Biochemical Predestination in 1969 by Dean Kenyon. He voiced the hope that lifeless cells (poetically called “coacervates” and “proteinoid microspheres”) could mysteriously begin living!
But by the late 1970s, after reading scientific criticisms of evolutionary theories, Kenyon would radically change his mind—and he became an outspoken critic of evolution. By that time, space physicist Robert Jastrow and New York University Robert Shapiro were also writing attacks on the possibility of chemical evolution.
@pheonix1012 I hope you are kidding. you dont really belive what you wrote do you? "Evolution is a slow process happening over the course of thousands to millions of years. Every step in a particular direction is a small one and barely noticeable."
we can see computer viruses and programs evolve right in front of our very eyes in a matter of teraflops.
We can witness the evolution of REAL bacteria and virus in a matter of minutes as well. We have scene the well known STAPH virus evolve in a just a few short years. there are countless examples.
@democedes "The more educated you are, the more likely you are to believe in evolution.
The more you attend church, the more likely you don’t believe in evolution"
that really goes with out saying. but thanks for the link to the poll. I mean... hasn't this been the story for the past 2000 years? Aristotle, Copernicus, Galileo, etc, etc.
I will say what your not, out right. Most smart people are educated and most dumb people aren't. There are exceptions, but not many.
@AIdrons Last Hope my neighbor was a sociopath who believed in conspiracy theories. I learned 1 thing about sociopaths path, there is no reasoning with them, becuase they believe the reality they have created for themselves is the only one (and they are always correct). I am not saying conspiracies dont exist, but evolution is not one of them. I am writing this for the benefit of the other readers, not you, becuase you have already proven to me and everyone else you are delusional and your mind can mind be changed.
you have been posting a lot about supposed lies and conspiracy theories a lot lately. BUT you are TROLL.
this is a cite for SCIENTIFIC theory and debate. not inflammatory trolling comments. they have other website for that.
@Army Juggernaut its sad isn't it? you can almost measure a persons intelligent by how many children they have.
There is one thing that might offset this problem in the future. Life extension. Either through natural methods like gene therapy or by article means such as augmentations. I hate to use a game like Dues ex for an example. but yes something along those lines. If we ever successfully create a decent brain to machine interface. immortality is all but certain, but do you think they will hand it out? no it will be for the educated people who can afford it.
Its really no secret the world is getting crappier to live in for many people. The population isnt going to magically start shrinking. The poor and impoverished will multiply while the educated and wealthy have less and less children. Japan and the USA is perfect example. YES the USA. if you actually look at the numbers. Caucasians birth rates are about the same as Japanese. Higher death rate and lower birth rate. I am not saying whites are better or smarter, but its no secrete they are more educated just becuase of the way our school systems are run in the USA. Black and Latino school tend to be worse than "white" schools. its bad cycle, but thats WAY off topic.
what I am getting at is.... we will leave. we will start with floating ocean cites who can mold into what ever society they want to, and then we will start with solar colonies and in thousands of years extra-solar colonies. Earth will be humanities $$$$ hole. I have little doubt of that. Those that have the cash and education to get out will.
Its just like a small country town, or the inner city. Those who get educated enough get the $$$$ out.
Serinties (FireFly) view of the earth is much more realities than Star Treks. (I mean really, if you could get stuff for free like in star trek, how many A-holes would have their houses filled with crap they are never going to use or need)
There goes crazy ol' inaka witch hunting himself another "troll"; while all he needs to do to find one is take a look in the mirror. :)
i'm liking the debate going on here. both sides have very justifiable claims that back up their opinion. personally i believe in a combination of both evolution and intelligent design. my theory is that a higher being "planted" life on earth. we were simple till they gave us a "spark" that gave us the ability to build thing unimaginable. sounds a lot like genesis right? but maybe the bible got that right.
The people of the world only divide into two kinds, One sort with brains who hold no religion, The other with religion and no brain.
- Abu-al-Ala al-Marri