Posts Tagged ‘extinction’
Early northeast colonial settlers, William Bradford and Edward Winslow, in 1620 sent out a business prospectus: “Cape Cod was like to be a place of good fishing, for we saw daily great whales, of the best kind for oil and bone.” The American whaling industry was just beginning. Two-hundred years later, New England was the premier whaling center in the world. More than 10,000 men set-sail on whaleships in 1857 from New Bedford, Massachusetts, alone.
Within the next 100 years, during the life-time of Herman Melville’s mythical Moby Dick (illustrated), the whaling industry was forced to hunt deeper into the ocean and eventually into the southern Atlantic, leaving the north Atlantic population decimated. Since fewer than 100 were known to exist by 1935, whaling was globally banned in 1937. While the population is estimated to have finally increased to 500 in 2013, a Florida research team has uncovered that a genetic mutation is now forcing the whale population into extinction – a whale evolution nightmare.
The European Eel, Darwin Wrong
The European eel illustrates exactly why Charles Darwin theory of evolution has continued to be on the wrong side of science. Darwin once argued that “By the theory of natural selection, all living species have been connected… So that the number of intermediate and transitional links, between all living and extinct species, must have been inconceivably great.”
Since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, Darwin’s “inconceivably great” number of evolutionary transitional links over the past 150 years still remains missing despite the discovery of vast numbers of fossils. The eel, sometimes known as a living fossil, highlights the unique and bizarre novelties of nature rather than Darwin’s endless series of transitional links. More importantly, rather than serving as an example of evolution, eels, specifically the European eel, now faces extinction, not evolution. Darwin, once again, proved wrong. Continue Reading
Extinction, Darwin Wrong Again
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin envisioned that “extinction and natural selection go hand in hand.” Extinction, however, was relatively new concept only emerging in revolutionary France following the publication of Essay on the Theory of the Earth in 1813 by French naturalist Georges Cuvier.
“All these facts, consistent among themselves,” Cuvier argued, “seem to me to prove the existence of a world previous to ours… And what revolution was able to wipe it out [extinction]?” Cuvier was an iconic French scientist who established extinction as a field of inquiry. When completed in time for the 1889 World’s Fair, his name was one of the only seventy-two names inscribed onto the Eiffel Tower. The discovery of extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert explains in book The Sixth Extinction (2014), made evolution seem “as unlikely as levitation” – an issue Darwin conveniently overlooked.
In December 1834, during the five-year voyage of the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin discovered an unusual frog on the temperate forest Island of Lemuy, Chiloe Archipelago. Named in his honor, Rhinoderma darwinii, this legendary frog is facing extinction, not evolution.
The only known sister Rhinoderma species, Rhinoderma rufum, was discovered by French zoologist André Marie Constant Duméril (1774 – 1860), in Argentina. In 2004, the International Union of Conservation Nature (IUCN) listed R. rufum as “critically endangered” and R. darwinii as “vulnerable.”
While “extinction and natural selection go hand in hand,” Darwin advanced the concept that the pendulum favored the formation of original new species−speciation. The title, The Origin of Species, encapsulates this theory.
In a new study published in Science Express this month by biologist Tiago Quental of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and paleobiologist Charles Marshall of the University of California, Los Angeles, entitled “How the Red Queen drives terrestrial mammals to extinction,” however, undermines Darwin’s new species theory. The study was designed to test a popular evolutionary theory called the Red Queen hypothesis.
In the same way Isaac Newton discovered the laws of motion and gravity, Charles Darwin launched his pursuit to discover the laws of biological evolution. After decades of searching and studying, Darwin eventually proposed his law of evolution – “natural selection.”
Natural selection soon emerged as the cornerstone law of evolution following the publication of the first edition of The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in November 1859. Natural selection stands as the fundamental tenet of Darwin’s theory of evolution, popularly known as Darwinism. But, what in natural selection – really?
extinction and natural selection go hand in hand
Darwin uses “extinction” occurs 74 times in the sixth edition; “evolution” is not mentioned once. Encouraged by his brother, Erasmus, Darwin read An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Robert Malthus, an English political economist in 1838. Darwin recalls in his Autobiography the sentinel moments:
In October 1838 … I happened to read for amusement Malthus On Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long-continued observation of the habits of animal and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work.
The origin of natural selection theory was rooted in behaviors in the struggle for existence, a behavioral science. As Darwin explains, “This is the doctrine of Malthus … [that] many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and … consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence” was the foundation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection: