Posts Tagged ‘Peppered Moths’
Britain’s peppered moth has long been an evolution icon. This month, a new genetic discovery renews the spotlight on the moth. “Researchers from the University of Liverpool,” reports ScienceDaily, “have identified and dated the genetic mutation that gave rise to the black form of the peppered moth, which spread rapidly during Britain’s industrial revolution. The new findings solve a crucial missing piece of the puzzle in this iconic textbook example of evolution by natural selection.”
Peppered moths are notable for their unique speckled range of colors from light, shades of gray, to nearly black. The dark moths are also known as melanics or carbonaria. ScienceDaily’s crucial missing piece evidence, the “jumping gene,” was published this month in the prestigious journal Nature. “From time to time,” however, according to Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago evolution scientist, “evolutionists re-examine a classical experimental study and find, to their horror, that it is flawed.”
In The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin explains how “external resemblances [of moths]… has been gained for the sake of protection” giving the moth “a better chance of escaping destruction from predaceous birds”… “So that we have an excellent illustration of natural selection.”
Bernard Kettlewell in the early 1950’s was the first to design an experiment to test Darwin’s “excellent example of natural selection” in two types of wooded areas in England—polluted and nonpolluted. Kettlewell demonstrated light colored peppered moths survived better than darker colored moths in areas where the tree trucks were of lighter color, and conversely— darker colored moths survived better than lighter colored moths in areas where the tree trucks were of darker color.