Posts Tagged ‘Origin of Species’
Bioluminescence is woven into folklore legends. From the 8th century Japanese firefly legend known as hotaru, to Fox an Apache American Indian who spread fire over the Earth during festive dance with fireflies, the world-wide wonder of bioluminescence is interlaced throughout the expanse of nature from the microbe to vertebrates.
To explore the science of ancient legends, evolutionary biologist Matthew Davis at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, published the results of their study in the paper entitled “Repeated and Widespread Evolution of Bioluminescence in Marine Fishes” in the journal PLoS One (2016). Despite the inference in the title, however, evidence for the origin of bioluminescence continues to stymie scientists.
The shape of bacteria has long been anticipated to correlate with movement. From an evolutionary perspective, form is predicted to follow function – but, had yet to be tested. In the words of evolutionary geneticist Fouad El baidouri, “despite a few pioneering attempts to link bacterial form and function, functional morphology is largely unstudied in prokaryotes [bacteria].”
Now in a landmark study published in Nature, Ecology & Evolution, a research team lead by El baidouri from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom Elizabeth Allen explains in Phys Org, “the shape of bacteria does not influence how well they can move – this is the surprising finding… The findings refute long-held theories that there should be a strong link between the evolution of shape in bacteria and their ability to move.”
The mystery behind the superiority of bird eye sight over humans is now more mysterious than ever. Joe Corbo, staring into the eye of a chicken seven years ago, saw something startling carpeting the retina. Rather than randomly distributed color-sensitive cones, like in humans, Corbo observed a uniform distribution of the cones – a pattern previously unrecognized in birds.
Science writer, Natalie Wolchover, in A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order published in Quanta Magazine in July reported that while cones were remarkably uniform in distribution, the actual cone locations seemed haphazard. “The dots’ locations followed no discernible rule, yet never seemed too close or too far apart” – a strange mix of bird eye random regularity.
R2D2, short for Artoo-Detoo, is best known as the fictional robotic character in the Star Wars universe series created by George Lucas. Inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2003, R2D2 has since been included in the Smithsonian Institution list of 101 Objects that Made America. R2D2 is the good guy; the favorite character of George Lucas – known for always saving the day at least once in every film.
In the realm of biology however, the R2d2 gene is a Darth Vader villain terrorizing Darwin’s once popular theory. R2d2’s newly recognized function was published on February 15 in a paper in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution by leading investigator Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena (pictured below), professor of genetics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. With a stealthy title, “R2d2 drives selfish sweeps in the house mouse,” R2d2 disses Darwin with scientific evidence.
The genetic code is the universal language of life−from the first microbe to man. Searching for the origins of the first genetic code mystery, however, is uncoding evolution.
Over the past two years, the research team of Bojan Žagrović (pictured) at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories of the University of Vienna has been searching for a natural mechanism driving the genesis of the original genetic code−the longstanding nemesis of the evolution industry.
Two opposing theories of evolution have emerged into a new impasse – “survival of the fittest” versus symbiosis. As Charles Darwin explained in The Origin of Species (1859), evolution results from competition between species. On the opposing side, evolution is thought to result from altruistic cooperation between species−a process of symbiosis.
Darwin proposed that evolution stems from “accumulating slight, successive” changes during the “struggle for life”−a process he called natural selection. Poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, born the same year as Darwin, captured the essence of this struggle for life in the now infamous phrase—“nature red in tooth and claw.”
War Over Natural Selection
After years of cross-referencing the works of Charles Darwin (1812-1882) alongside those of Patrick Matthew (1790-1874) to answer the question did Darwin ‘borrow” the theory of natural selection for The Origin of Species, Mike Sutton, a criminology expert at Nottingham Trent University, concluded that “I have no doubt, based on the weight of new evidence, that Darwin did read Matthew’s book and then went on to replicate his discovery and key themes.”
Science correspondent Sarah Knapton in the article, “Did Charles Darwin ‘borrow’ the theory of natural selection?” published by The Telegraph (UK) reporting on Sutton’s findings concludes that “Darwin must not only have been aware of Matthew’s work, but borrowed from it heavily” proving that “the naturalist [Darwin] lied.”
Algae Asphyxiates Evolution Principle
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin cast his theory of evolution centered on a “struggle for life” principle – coined as the “war of nature” or the “survival of the fittest” in 1859. This principle is presented in the complete title of his legionary book – On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
This competitive “struggle for life,” Darwin had argued, occurs between the new and the original species. With the emergence of new species, they were imagined to compete even against their own parents:
“The principle of competition [is] between organism and organism, between child and parent… supplant[ing] the old and unimproved forms.”
Competition increases with increasing similarity. “As the species of the same genus,” Darwin argued, “the struggle will generally be more severe between them, if they come into competition with each other, than between the species of distinct genera.” Since then, however, the evidence directly challenges Darwin’s principle of evolution. Continue Reading
Ant Colony Terrorizes Evolutionism
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin assertively explains, “We shall, perhaps, best understand how instincts in a state of nature have become modified by selection, by considering… the slave-making instinct of certain ants.” Similar to bees with elbowed antennae, ants are instinctively colony-building social insects.
Without a blueprint or leader, swarming ants can move specks of dirt to create large structures with an integrated network of complex tunnels with circulating ventilation. Scientists studying organization in nature are increasingly turning their interest towards how these insects with tiny brains could have evolved instincts to cooperatively engineer such impressive structures.
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.