If you've ever had the soul-crushing misfortune of hitting a bird while speeding down the road, you can at least take heart in the fact that some birds are, on the whole, getting better at dodging them. A new paper published today in the journal Current Biology theorizes that today's natural predators (like the Ford F-150) are causing birds to adapt.
Every year for the past 30 years, researchers have been acting like urban Darwins, observing cliff swallows in Nebraska and surveying how they die. The swallows often build nests under bridges or other well-trafficked areas and so, occasionally, get hit by cars. The researchers tracked birds who've died by car, and then compared them to birds who accidentally died some other way. They've found that, during the last three decades, the swallows have been dying less by car, and it's not caused by the number of birds in the area or number of cars on the road. Something else is up, the researchers surmised.
The roadkill surveys indicate it's the long-winged swallows who are getting hit by cars; the shorter-winged birds may be able to turn and take off faster than their counterparts, avoiding oncoming traffic. That means there's a natural selection process happening out on the road.
That's at least the idea, anyway. There are other factors the researchers point out--like the fact that swallows can learn from each other--that might also be contributing to swallows dying less. Regardless, they're somehow avoiding becoming roadkill.
I just wish possums would get a little wiser, when it comes to crossing the road too.
They are just so SO cute!
It's hardly evolution; I believe the term they were looking for was natural selection. obviously the animals smart enough to not get hit by cars would be the ones selected for based on the new environment the birds live in currently. Survival of the fittest
@wheresfluffy: Natural selection (along with mutations) is one of the fundamental drivers of evolution. Your statement makes no sense.
One thing I notice is that some insects try desperately to land on the tarmac, before being hit by a (my) car. Evolution or learned behaviour? (It's noticeable at night, or maybe I'm imagining things)
wheresfluffy's comment makes perfect sense.
You said "Natural selection (along with mutations) is one of the fundamental drivers of evolution. Your statement makes no sense."
What you need to know is that natural selection is a necessary, but not sufficient (I hope you understand what necessary and sufficient resp. are when applied to arguments) to evolution.
But natural selection is also applied to other theories of origins which do not agree with evolution. Natural selection is an observable thing which few would argue with.
That's PROOF of evolution despite some naysayers probably religious nuts. It's called survival of the fittest who then pass on their genes to surviving generations. If those birds are quicker--maybe by shorter wings, or smarter, then they survive and the others get hit by cars and die off.
Even when the evidence stares them in the face all the religious nutcases--billions of them--refuse to accept the facts.
Evolution = Change.
"Evolution requires only three main features: variation, selection and heredity. If there is a replicator that makes imperfect copies of itself only some of which survive, then evolution simply must occur."
The birds that did not change are dead. Therefore less birds will be hit every year and only "evolved" or "changed" birds will pass on to future generations.
Honestly, the moment we found out that DNA does not make perfect copies, that was all the proof we needed for evolution.
Obviously if you keep changing a creature little by little in random ways there is no limit to the number of variations (or species)you will end up with.
Not to mention the DNA code is basically the same for all life, indicating that we are all related.
So did god "create" humans 99% monkey? I prefer not to believe in a lazy god like that.
"the moment we found out that DNA does not make perfect copies, that was all the proof we needed for evolution."
Well said. If you have natural selection the only additional ingredient you need to make evolution happen is a mechanism for adding new traits to a population.
We know DNA mutations exist. Without mutations there would be no cancer. While most mutations result in the untimely death of the organism, some organism survive these mutations and pass their mutated genes to their offspring adding new traits into the gene pool. It is then up to the process of natural selection to spread these new traits throughout the population if they are beneficial or eliminate them if they are not.
I think there is confusion between MICRO vs. MACRO evolution here. Micro Evolution is an adaptation within a species where unique characteristics of each bird will either help or hinder it depending on the environment. This story is an example of Micro-Evolution (i.e. Whiter rabbits will always do better in snow than black rabbits, shorter-legged boars will always do better in denser jungles) The still unproven part of the evolutionary theory (it's still a theory) is Macro Evolution.
There seems to be 3 camps here:
1) Creationists believe that someone or something designed the world and everything in it. They point to the proof that anywhere you look there is too much intricate & intelligent design to not conclude someone smarter than us is responsible for it.
2) Evolutionists believe that all life came from a single, still unexplained cell, and over time, this cell has morphed into the many different species. The foundation of evolutionist insist there cannot be a God or more intelligent being out there.
3) Alien Evolutionists seem to be hybrids. Alien theorists can't help but see the amazing design and interdependent systems out there but will never entertain the thought of there being a God. Aliens are the perfect remedy.
I would say I fall into option #1. No other hypothesis explains the amazing things of science. But if you can't wrap your head around the first 5 verses of the Bible "In the beginning God created..." you must look elsewhere.
Anyicon and wheresfluffy, let's start off with something a bit simpler such as teaching people to look both ways so that they don't step out in front of moving cars? ,)
Please *read* what I wrote, and you may notice that I said "one of the fundamental drivers of evolution". In other words: a necessary but not sufficient condition.
wheresfluffy's original post was wrong. Your characterization of my reply to him/her was wrong. killerT's first post above is a sufficient and correct statement.
"sufficient" s/b "succinct" (darn auto-correct)
"it's still a theory" - The calling card for the scientifically uninitiated. There is no greater thing in science than a theory.
"The foundation of evolutionist insist there cannot be a God or more intelligent being out there."
Evolution does not prove or disprove the existence of deities. There are many people of faith that believe in evolution.
"They point to the proof that anywhere you look there is too much intricate & intelligent design to not conclude someone smarter than us is responsible for it."
Your "proof" is purely subjective. You believe because of your gut feeling, not because of facts or logic.
@tundrasea genetic variations within a species (revealed by natural selection) is a far cry different then one species changing into another. This has never been proved nor seen in action. The bird is still a bird only able to reproduce after it's own kind.
I love how everyone is like "dude this is totally evolution man! The establishments done dude" OK maybe not that exactly.
The way this article writes it, It sounds more like scientists observed that birds with shorter wings spans are less likely to get hit by cars than birds with longer wingspans. I didn't read anything about long winged swallows developing shorter wings, and to imply that these shallows are going to die off and the fitter ones will survive is to put far too much stock in the Ford assembly line.
A lazy God? Some people's kids... If you're 99% identical to a monkey how closely related do you think you are to his feces? No seriously - if that 1% is responsible for everything that makes us different then how different in percentage are we from, say, a banana? How is that even an argument against God?
Why were there no:
complex cells (eukaryotes) before 2 billion years ago
multicellular life before 1 billion years ago
arthropods before 570 million years ago
complex animals before 550 million years ago
fish before 500 million years ago
land plants before 475 million years ago
insects and seeds before 400 million years ago
amphibians before 360 million years ago
reptiles before 300 million years ago
mammals before 200 million years ago
birds before 150 million years ago
flowers before 130 million years ago
modern humans before 200,000 years ago
The fossil record clearly shows life becoming more and more complex over Earth's history. Where did all these new species come from? Did they just suddenly pop into existence? If so, why the progression? Why do new species always look like a slightly changed version of what came before?
If one species can't change into another in time, God went out of His way to make us think so.
Why did modern man brain size become smaller? Why did modern man loose its fur? Both of these are a non-adaptation to the environment?
Why did modern man use the use of some of its internal organs? Now modern man can digest foods? Why did modern man become such a risk taker?
Why did modern man eyes become smaller? Is seeing poorer an enhancement?
Modern man is a leap in the natural evolution of primates and has not been explain yet. The Sumerian culture explains why humans were made clearly in their history; to serve the ‘beings from above. Perhaps with time and myths this was later changed to GODS. In modern religion, it is often said we humans were created by the GODS.
It seems ancient primate man, was downgraded from living with the natural environment and upgraded to communicate better and server our GOD\beings from above overlords.
It does not feel good and maybe seem unscientifically illogical to believe modern man is a down grade from the natural environment, but lots of evidence points we modern humans are no longer part of the natural scheme of things. This idea I propose, just makes people feel uncomfortable, so it's quickly ignored. It does not make wrong, though.
Why did modern man lose the use of some of its internal organs? Now modern man can not digest as many natural foods and can't fight parasits or infection as well.
"Why did modern man brain size become smaller?"
A small brain takes fewer resources to operate. Brain size does not directly correlate with intelligence. A sperm whale has a brain 6x bigger than humans.
"Why did modern man loose its fur?" There are many ideas on the subject. Fur is a disadvantage in hot environments. I think courtship/mating preferences had something to do with it too.
"Why did modern man lose the use of some of its internal organs? Now modern man can not digest as many natural foods and can't fight parasits or infection as well." I assume you are referring to the Appendix. It is not clear what benefit the Appendix provided. It could have become redundant, or no long required by a change in diet. Also, we are not the only animal with a vestigial appendix.
"Why did modern man become such a risk taker?" African homo sapiens started mingling with European Neanderthals about 37,000 years ago. The infusion of Neanderthal DNA into the human population gave us our wild side.
"Why did modern man eyes become smaller? Is seeing poorer an enhancement?" Good eyesight takes more brain power. This requires more food/energy and leaves less of the brain available for higher cognitive functions.
"The Sumerian culture explains why humans were made clearly in their history"
"Modern man is a leap in the natural evolution of primates and has not been explain yet." Punctuated evolution has been explained, extensively.
I know ancient aliens is your thing. But there is no direct evidence supporting it, and has been so thoroughly, dare I say embarrassingly, debunked it has lost what little credibility it had. That is why it makes people uncomfortable, they see you as part of the tin hat community.
back to beating the same tired old drum are we? Dogma dogma dogma.
Minor changes are all that has ever been observed. It takes major changes to change from one species into another. Most of the tiny changes that would be required to build into the major change have no adaptive advantage by themselves, many are disadvantageous.
It is not scientific to talk about the past, it can't be repeated, the conditions are unknown. On top of this you want to posit that these terribly unlikely large scale changes did occur? By what evidence do you support this? It doesn't work as a thought experiment, we can't sit around long enough to observe it...what then?
Darwin thumping fundamentalists like you need to bring something to the table here. The article above, just shows a small change, hardly evidence for the grand "theory" of evolution which took microbes to man.
@democedes. Yes, thank you for clarifying, "proof" was not the right word here. The thought was to convey personal surety, not scientific fact.
Given that we know less than 1% of what there is to be known, the missing 99% will always be filtered through ones belief about their creator.
Whoa! Hold on there Hoss. Who said anything about speciation? The article didn't, and I certainly didn't. Perhaps speciation (or macro-evolution) was what wheresfluffy was driving at. It's the only way his comment (the one I was referring to in my initial posting) makes any sense.
FotoBum, in his/her post above, explains the differences between micro-evolution (changes within a species), and macro-evolution (changes that actually result in a new species). The article was clearly referring to micro-evolution. It compares long and short wing swallows -- not swallows and some brand new species.
No body (with the possible exception of wheresfluffy) was discussing the kind of evolution you so adamantly argue against. Words matter, I chose mine carefully -- please don't try to twist them about to suit your purposes. Read twice -- argue once.
tundrasea, I don't think we disagree. My comment was that the article was a great example of Micro but many (no one specific) confuse the two. The remainder of my thought was addressing Macro.
Yes a sperm whale does have a larger brain size. He remembers his journeys across the world and communicates as well. We humans just assume we are smarter, but we make this opinion in our environment and not the sperm whales environment.
The primates continue all over the world in HOT environment with their fur still ON.
Besides the appendix, the gall blander is another expendable organ. You comment to mine is just opinionating. The god overloads taught farming for modern man, hence the need for these organs were not necessary, plus just something else to fail in the primate body.
In fact, most of your comments are just opinionating.
Modern mad did not mingle with Neanderthals. It was typical social behavior of Neanderthals to steal another’s female. With this said, stealing modern man’s females would fall right in line with this social behavior. This is why some minor Neanderthal DNA exists in modern man.
Neanderthal man had a tool box for 100k years and did almost nothing to expand upon. Modern man tools box is always growing in regards to always greed attitude to want more than he needs from the environment.
Big eyes require more brain power and yet you say are not as smart. As a modern man, are you taking notes, perhaps you are. Neanderthal man remembered, similar to the sperm whale with the larger brain.
The leap of modern man has not been explained in evolution. No, they have not found the missing link and can't explain why modern man became such a risk taker.
From various cultures across the Earth and yes called religions too, it is said humans were created from GODS. So this means we have witness and recordings of how modern mad was made, but the culture just did not have the modern science vocabulary to explain it correct. You just ignore the fact this same concept was shared all over the world, "MAN was created", because of the GOD reference and ignore the fact difference witness came up with the same idea or observation.
Neanderthal is a normal typical animal of evolution Earth. Modern man comes from this evolution, but comes with external enhancements for the benefit of the creator. Modern human are like no other animal on Earth.
Neanderthal man was the better animal for natural environmental Earth. Modern man is made for the god overlord’s purpose and perhaps to travel later the cosmos. Our greed never ends lol!
Oh, I just notice, lol. I am not the robot login you refer to. I am new and different. Take care! ;)
The structure of every argument in support of ancient aliens is the following: It was impossible for humans to X therefore, aliens.
You posted a lot of questions and I am not about to respond with a thesis on each one. My intent was to simply show that there are explanations that are far more likely than aliens to the questions you pose. As far as your counter arguments, they do not support your original hypothesis. As an example:
"The primates continue all over the world in HOT environment with their fur still ON."
I did not say all animals must lose their fur in hot environments. I simply said that losing fur would be an advantage. Some mammals have evolved similarly to humans (mostly hairless) without alien intervention.
So where is the actual physical evidence supporting the Ancient Aliens hypothesis. All of the arguments you have presented thus far are inconclusive even if they weren't incorrect. Science has a clear understanding of how modern humans became the way they are, and even if it didn't, that does not prove alien involvement.
Put another way, your religion has some pretty serious plot holes. But even if it didn't, a good plot is not evidence of truth. You need actual physical evidence, not just a good back story.
Mine comments above are mine opinion, verse the contrast humans were made from Gods.
I do believe in science and evolution. My theory is that along our primate evolutional lines of Neanderthal man, an outside influence from a cosmic body came to Earth and did some DNA tweaking with the end result of making modern human for the benefit of the builder. Now modern man is no longer the natural animal he once was.
My theory is a work in progress. I am strange too, I still find myself praying to one God, believe in the purpose of forgiveness and sacrifice. I am odd that way. Oh, I believe God and his purpose with love is universal for all. Yea, mine is my opinion of God too. In reality, we are all having our own journey in life with our own opinions as well.
There is just so much to know about our cosmic world and we humans are just babies in it's understanding. Take care. ;)
Enough of the "it's a theory" stuff. The only thing higher than Theory in the hierarchy of scientific knowledge is Law. I don't believe evolution will ever be described succinctly enough to gain that status. If you think theory means something like guess or hypothesis, you need to learn the basics of the scientific method before commenting. If you want to talk about creationism or intelligent design, perhaps you should go play in the religion or philosophy sandbox and not clutter up Popsci.
If you, yourself, were to make a deeper study of the philosophy of science; perhaps you'd see the unintentional irony embedded in your comment. Start with a study of epistemology. Then look up "the provisional nature of science".