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Posted: Feb 13, 2021 - 11:16am

How a Love of Flowers Helped Charles Darwin Validate Natural Selection


Mention of Charles Darwin, for most, conjures up images of intrepid Victorian sea voyages, giant tortoises and Galapagos finches. Few of us associate Darwin with plant sex. That honor tends to go to his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, who wrote erotic poems on the topic.

Although Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which describes his theory of evolution by natural selection, has eclipsed all his other research, his career continued for over two decades after the landmark work’s publication. Much of the aging naturalist’s time was spent studying botany, and his research produced discoveries that, had he not become famous for natural selection, would have made him a well-known botanist. (...)

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Posted: Feb 11, 2021 - 1:37pm

 rhahl wrote:
My all-time favorite theory is that humans arose from the crossing of a monkey with a pig.  
 
Of course even if it was true, that would have been a pre-monkey and a pre-pig producing a pre-human, but it's still fun to say.
 
More like a pigheaded hypothesis.
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Posted: Feb 11, 2021 - 12:31pm



 rhahl wrote:

My all-time favorite theory is that humans arose from the crossing of a monkey with a pig.  
 
Of course even if it was true, that would have been a pre-monkey and a pre-pig producing a pre-human, but it's still fun to say.
 
All about getting some extra meat in the manwich...

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Posted: Feb 11, 2021 - 12:04pm

 R_P wrote:
Modern human origins cannot be traced back to a single point in time
Genetic and fossil records do not reveal a single point where modern humans originated, researchers have found.
 
My all-time favorite theory is that humans arose from the crossing of a monkey with a pig.  
 
Of course even if it was true, that would have been a pre-monkey and a pre-pig producing a pre-human, but it's still fun to say.
oldviolin

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Posted: Feb 11, 2021 - 11:14am

 R_P wrote:
Modern human origins cannot be traced back to a single point in time
Genetic and fossil records do not reveal a single point where modern humans originated, researchers have found.
 
IOW Piltdown Man never really had a chance...
{#Wink}

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Posted: Feb 11, 2021 - 11:06am

Modern human origins cannot be traced back to a single point in time
Genetic and fossil records do not reveal a single point where modern humans originated, researchers have found.
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Posted: Feb 10, 2021 - 5:22pm

An Evolutionary Timeline of Homo Sapiens
Scientists share the findings that helped them pinpoint key moments in the rise of our species

The long evolutionary journey that created modern humans began with a single step—or more accurately—with the ability to walk on two legs. One of our earliest-known ancestors, Sahelanthropus, began the slow transition from ape-like movement some six million years ago, but Homo sapiens wouldn’t show up for more than five million years. During that long interim, a menagerie of different human species lived, evolved and died out, intermingling and sometimes interbreeding along the way. As time went on, their bodies changed, as did their brains and their ability to think, as seen in their tools and technologies. (...)

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Posted: Feb 9, 2021 - 7:30pm

Not a living fossil: How the Coelacanth recently evolved dozens of new genes

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Posted: Jan 25, 2021 - 2:34pm


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Posted: Jan 1, 2021 - 11:32am

Evolution is the reason you want to watch cat videos online
Being distracted by cute animals is one of the most important characteristics of being human today, argues media researcher.
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Posted: Oct 3, 2020 - 8:21am

Not-so-hostile takeover: Human Y chromosome displaced the Neanderthals’ version
Neanderthal genes increase risk of serious Covid-19, study claims
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Posted: Sep 22, 2020 - 8:50pm

Japan-Canada team discovers bone cancer in dinosaur leg

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Posted: Aug 1, 2020 - 12:14pm

British naturalist Charles Darwin got it right, but maybe we got Darwin wrong.

Most people assume that Darwin was talking about physical strength when referring to “survival of the fittest,” meaning that a tougher, more resilient species always will win out over its weaker counterparts. But what if he didn’t mean that at all?

Scientists Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, both researchers at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, believe something else has been at work among species that have thrived throughout history, successfully reproducing to sustain themselves, and it has nothing to do with beating up the competition.

Their new book, “Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity,” posits that friendly partnerships among species and shared humanity have worked throughout centuries to ensure successful evolution. Species endure — humans, other animals and plants — they write, based on friendliness, partnership and communication. And they point to many life examples of cooperation and sociability to prove it.

“Survival of fittest, which is what everyone has in mind as evolution and natural selection, has done the most harm of any folk theory that has penetrated society,” Hare says. “People think of it as strong alpha males who deserve to win. That’s not what Darwin suggested, or what has been demonstrated. The most successful strategy in life is friendliness and cooperation, and we see it again and again.”

“Dogs are exhibit A,” he says. “They are the extremely friendly descendants of wolves. They were attracted to humans and became friendly to humans, and changed their behavior, appearance and developmental makeup. Sadly, their close relative, the wolf, is threatened and endangered in the few places where they live, whereas there are hundreds of millions of dogs. Dogs were the population of wolves that decided to rely on humans — rather than hunting — and that population won big.” (...)

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Posted: Jul 21, 2020 - 2:54pm

Coronavirus has mutated 590 times so far in Bangladesh, government research shows
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Posted: Jul 17, 2020 - 7:54pm

How Viruses Evolve
Pathogens that switch to a new host species have some adapting to do. How does that affect the course of a pandemic like COVID-19?
(...) This evolutionary two-step — first spillover, then adaptation to the new host — is probably characteristic of most viruses as they shift hosts, says Daniel Streicker, a viral ecologist at the University of Glasgow. If so, emerging viruses probably pass through a “silent period” immediately after a host shift, in which the virus barely scrapes by, teetering on the brink of extinction until it acquires the mutations needed for an epidemic to bloom.

Streicker sees this in studies of rabies in bats — which is a good model for studying the evolution of emerging viruses, he says, since the rabies virus has jumped between different bat species many times. He and his colleagues looked at decades’ worth of genetic sequence data for rabies viruses that had undergone such host shifts. Since larger populations contain more genetic variants than smaller populations do, measuring genetic diversity in their samples enabled the scientists to estimate how widespread the virus was at any given time.

The team found that almost none of the 13 viral strains they studied took off immediately after switching to a new bat species. Instead, the viruses eked out a marginal existence for years to decades before they acquired the mutations — of as yet unknown function — that allowed them to burst out to epidemic levels. Not surprisingly, the viruses that emerged the fastest were those that needed the fewest genetic changes to blossom.

SARS-CoV-2 probably passed through a similar tenuous phase before it acquired the key adaptations that allowed it to flourish, perhaps the mutation to the polybasic cleavage site, perhaps others not yet identified. In any case, says Colin Parrish, a virologist at Cornell University who studies host shifts, “by the time the first person in Wuhan had been identified with coronavirus, it had probably been in people for a while.”

It was our bad luck that SARS-CoV-2 adapted successfully. Many viruses that spill over to humans never do. About 220 to 250 viruses are known to infect people, but only about half are transmissible — many only weakly — from one person to another, says Jemma Geoghegan, an evolutionary virologist at the University of Otago, New Zealand. The rest are dead-end infections. Half is a generous estimate, she adds, since many other spillover events probably fizzle out before they can even be counted. (...)

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Posted: May 2, 2020 - 8:34pm

My, what big teeth and strange bones you have. Scientists discover a creature that roamed south of the equator 66 million years ago
Sixty-six million years ago, before the age of dinosaurs came to a fiery close, most mammals were puny and shrew-like. Which means a newly described Madagascar critter, though the size of a groundhog, was a giant of its day. And it packed a titan’s worth of oddities into its 7-pound frame.

The ancient animal’s fossils, the oldest mammal skeleton found in the Southern Hemisphere, show teeth and bones unlike anything seen before or since. “It’s a game-changer,” said Ohio University paleontologist Patrick M. O’Connor, who was not a part of the study. Though the researchers found a single skeleton, O’Connor said its remarkable preservation let scientists analyze the mammal in ways they previously “could only dream of."

An international team of scientists, including researchers in Madagascar and the United States, described the animal in the journal Nature on Wednesday. They named it Adalatherium hui — the first name, its genus, translates to “crazy beast”; the second, the species name, is in honor of the deceased mammalian scientist Yaoming Hu.

Adalatherium helps fill in the gaps of mammalian evolution that occurred during the time of the dinosaurs. Scientists know quite a bit about mammals from the Northern Hemisphere, especially China, O’Connor said. But that knowledge vanishes south of the equator.

Until 180 million years ago, the familiar continents of the Southern Hemisphere were mashed together in a landmass known as Gondwana. The mammals that lived there, which scientists call gondwanatherians, were known only from scattered fragments of jaw, teeth and a lone skull. Until this discovery. (...)

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Posted: Feb 25, 2020 - 2:32pm

 sirdroseph wrote:
Someone posted this on FB the other day and I have always known that oppression is part of natural human evolution.  The European colonization version is but a part of the overall phenomenon.   This articulates the positive evolutionary side effect of this and we are in the midst of this pendulum swing right now.  Hold on tightly, the cycle will be perpetual until we evolve spiritually enough to stop it though personally I think we will become extinct before we reach this level, but one can always hope.

"Humans have targeted other groups for as long as humanity has existed. The adversity that this creates for the targeted groups eventually causes them to resist and rise up in tenacity and determination and accomplishment. And at some point throughout history, the targeted almost always become the targeters, and then those people will eventually rise up in defiance. Adversity is a primary driver of longterm human development and achievement through the ages."

Social Darwinism
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Posted: Feb 25, 2020 - 4:52am

Someone posted this on FB the other day and I have always known that oppression is part of natural human evolution.  The European colonization version is but a part of the overall phenomenon.   This articulates the positive evolutionary side effect of this and we are in the midst of this pendulum swing right now.  Hold on tightly, the cycle will be perpetual until we evolve spiritually enough to stop it though personally I think we will become extinct before we reach this level, but one can always hope.

 

"Humans have targeted other groups for as long as humanity has existed. The adversity that this creates for the targeted groups eventually causes them to resist and rise up in tenacity and determination and accomplishment. And at some point throughout history, the targeted almost always become the targeters, and then those people will eventually rise up in defiance. Adversity is a primary driver of longterm human development and achievement through the ages."

 

 

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Posted: Feb 23, 2020 - 5:05pm

OM
Gee

 R_P wrote:
Fossil ape hints at how walking on two feet evolved
Approximately 11.6-million-year-old fossils reveal an ape with arms suited to hanging in trees but human-like legs, suggesting a form of locomotion that might push back the timeline for when walking on two feet evolved.

 


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Posted: Feb 23, 2020 - 4:59pm

You can’t fight feelings with facts: start with a chat
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