Posts Tagged ‘Origin of Species’
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.
Fossils. The Colossal Evolution Failure
Over the past two decades, a treasure trove of fossils has been unearthed in China. Some of the world’s most exquisitely preserved feathered dinosaurs, birds, reptiles and mammals have been recovered near quiet the northeastern China village of Daohugou.
Chinese farmers first discovered the trove near this Inner Mongolian village in 1998. The following summer, two distinct salamander species were recovered. Since then, the now infamous fossil site has been named the Daohugou Biota and has yielded more than 30 different vertebrate taxa (groups). The treasure trove of scientific evidence, however, further upends Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The origin of the human evolution concept into modern western civilization is largely credited to The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin published in November 1859. Ironically, while arguing for the evolution of new species from existing primitive species, Darwin only addressed the topic of human evolution in one sentence: “Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”
Darwin’s small spark ignited a raging fire lasting now more than 150 years. Stemming from scientific technological advances, Darwin’s fire is facing the inevitable prospect of being extinguished – estimated to be 60 to 80 pounds, Oreopithecus bambolii is the latest example.
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.
‘Tree of life’ drawings are the only quintessential symbol of biological evolution. In 1837, Charles Darwin drew his first with the title “I Think. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education in California, updated Darwin’s drawing as the organization’s logo in 2007. Since then, Darwin’s 1837 tree drawing has emerged as a popular subject for tattoo.
By the publication of The Origin of Species more than twenty years later in 1859, however, the tree had evolved into what Darwin called a “diagram” with no resemblance to the 1837 tree. Like the “I Think” drawing, Darwin never discloses what evidence behind the diagram. The drawing was simply ideological.
Evolution, as Charles Darwin insisted, must “have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.” Since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, the pursuit of evolutionary paleontologists, embryologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists have been to discover these “successive, slight” changes−even in chromosomes.
The convergence of evidence from these scientific fields to paint a uniform evolutionary pattern was once considered the ultimate goal to validate Darwin’s theory. After 150 years of unprecedented research, however, the evidence is more contradictory than complementary. While Darwinism has never been validated, alternative theories of evolution continue to cycle through constant states of crisis. Scientific evidence from genes and chromosomes do not complement evolution.
The fossil record was no friend of Charles Darwin in 1859. Now, more than 150 years later, the fossil record is no longer a friend of Richard Dawkins, either. “Why does not,” Darwin pointed out, “every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life?”
The question was unavoidable, the elephant in the room, yet troubling since Darwin recognized that the fossil record could eventually either make or break his theory:
The Joint International Turtle Genomes Consortium from China, Japan and the United States published findings for the first time in the prestigious journal of Nature. The research team described their most recent findings on embryonic gene expression in the paper entitled “The draft genomes of soft-shell turtle and green sea turtle yield insights into the development and evolution of the turtle specific body plan.”
Since the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, embryology has played a pivotal role in the history of evolution. Charles Darwin noted that the “leading facts in embryology … [were] second to none in importance” in establishing his theory of evolution. That was then.
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?