Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 41

Thread: Present-day Evolution

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    601

    Present-day Evolution

    Creatures evolve in response to "challenges" (i.e. stresses & disasters.) Here's a subject I haven't seen much about: what kinds of evolution are occurring today, mostly in response to the Biggest Stress of All: Humans!

    Are animals evolving new behaviors? Becoming more intelligent? Is new speciation taking place?

    For starters, I live near Valley Forge PA, which is probably one of the Deer capitals of the planet. It is possible to walk down the path and see 10, maybe 20 deer tamely grazing. Herds of 5 antlered bucks calmly gather along the road. I think more tourists come to see this, than the lame "George Washington" exhibits the park directors try to put together.

    When you ride by at night, you can see the deer standing near the road, their legs glowing in the headlights. Yet NONE of them ever jump in front of your car and you NEVER see a dead one.

    I think those deer have learned to look both ways. In fact I have actually seen them do this. I think they are getting smarter. That's Evolution!

    A related thought... my Natural History Magazine says that poison ivy will become more virulent as the temperature gets warmer. Poison ivy is a major predator in this area too. I mean, it KILLS your skin. When the temp gets warmer, it will grow larger because so little of its energy goes into cellulose for support...it just climbs up the trees and all its energy goes into new leaves...new photosynthesis.

    Well, poison ivy sucks (excuse me while I scratch) but Photosynthesis is a Good Thing. In fact if there is more C02 in the atmosphere, more photosynthesis is what we need to scrub it back out. They say "plant more trees" but where are we going to plant them, since developers are bulldozing more of the woods?

    So this is good news? Is it part of Gaia's way of trying to self-regulate the atmosphere?

    Any other examples? I'd like to hear something good.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    10,433

  3. #3
    learned behaviour isn't the same thing as evolution, individuals don't evolve.
    Rules For Posting To This Board
    All Moderation in Purple

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,501
    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    learned behaviour isn't the same thing as evolution, individuals don't evolve.
    This is true... evolution refers to genetic selection that takes place over generations...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    10,433
    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    learned behaviour isn't the same thing as evolution, individuals don't evolve.
    Its not learned behavior, the mutation that allowed for the silent wing has been the adaptation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,885
    The captain was talking about the deer, not the crickets.

    Fred
    "For shame, gentlemen, pack your evidence a little better against another time."
    -- John Dryden, "The Vindication of The Duke of Guise" 1684

  7. #7
    There could be a genetic component to deer checking the road for cars or it could be entirely learned. In which case you could say that a gene for increased learning would be a gene for crossing the road.

    Did you know it's easy to get confused when talking about this stuff?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    38,542
    I would agree that the deer behavior (or the Canada Geese around us) is learned behavior and not a sign of evolution. But there are plenty of other signs of evolution, such as the crickets that Doodler mentioned. Another one, which can be traced to human actions, is the development of anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria. I would also highly recommend the book, The Beak of the Finch for research into present day evolution, though it doesn't particularly cover cases influenced by humans, IIRC.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    10,433
    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
    The captain was talking about the deer, not the crickets.

    Fred
    Ack, sorry.

  10. #10
    sorry i should have quoted the stuff i was replying to
    Rules For Posting To This Board
    All Moderation in Purple

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    601
    Quote Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
    This is true... evolution refers to genetic selection that takes place over generations...
    Very true of course... several generations of deer have come & gone while I've lived in the area. So I imagine that natural selection is taking place... the less perceptive deer are being killed by predators called CARS. Eventually the deer with better spatial and causal perception will dominate, have more babies etc. So, is this evolution in action?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    601
    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler View Post
    Its not learned behavior, the mutation that allowed for the silent wing has been the adaptation.
    Eventually all of the singing crickets will die off. Then, only the songless crickets who have some OTHER way of attracting females will reproduce. Evolution in action!!

    I wonder what it will be? Light instead of sound? Firefly crickets?

    I sure hope this doesn't happen where I live. I LOVE cricket songs, like other people love football, christmas, shopping and other things that make their lives meaningful. I love crickets and cicadas so much that I recorded a CD of their songs a few years ago. It's a great relaxation aid!
    Last edited by greenfeather; 2006-Oct-04 at 04:34 PM. Reason: add something.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    10,433
    Quote Originally Posted by greenfeather View Post
    Eventually all of the singing crickets will die off. Then, only the songless crickets who have some OTHER way of attracting females will reproduce. Evolution in action!!

    I wonder what it will be? Light instead of sound? Firefly crickets?

    I sure hope this doesn't happen where I live. I LOVE cricket songs, like other people love football, christmas, shopping and other things that make their lives meaningful. I love crickets and cicadas so much that I recorded a CD of their songs a few years ago. It's a great relaxation aid!
    Alternately, denied of its primary foodsource, the mites will die back, and the singing males will rebound.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,468
    So what keeps the parasitic fly from finding the silent crickets clustering around the loud crickets?

  15. #15
    So what keeps the parasitic fly from finding the silent crickets clustering around the loud crickets?
    It's probably stupid.

    Sorry, it probably homes in on the one making the noise and not being intelligent as we consider ourselves to be it might be kind of inflexible in its behavior. Of course, now there is selection pressure for parasites that lay eggs in any cricket in the area, not just the noise maker.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    601
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I would agree that the deer behavior (or the Canada Geese around us) is learned behavior and not a sign of evolution.
    But the deer who can learn best are the ones who will survive/reproduce. Hence, evolution!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    38,542
    Quote Originally Posted by greenfeather View Post
    But the deer who can learn best are the ones who will survive/reproduce. Hence, evolution!
    It is possible. You'd have to show genetic differences and for the "smart" deer to become a separate species they would have to not breed with the other deer. My gut says it is too few generations for this to have happened.

    I do suspect though, that given enough time, we will start seeing some of this. A lot of the Canada Geese around this area no longer migrate, since they have food year round (lawns and such) and don't even seem to fly much any more. I could see that one day that the Lawn Geese will evolve into something like as ostrich, or other flightless bird.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  18. #18
    as long as there are lawns for them!
    Rules For Posting To This Board
    All Moderation in Purple

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    253
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift
    It is possible. You'd have to show genetic differences and for the "smart" deer to become a separate species they would have to not breed with the other deer. My gut says it is too few generations for this to have happened.

    I do suspect though, that given enough time, we will start seeing some of this. A lot of the Canada Geese around this area no longer migrate, since they have food year round (lawns and such) and don't even seem to fly much any more. I could see that one day that the Lawn Geese will evolve into something like as ostrich, or other flightless bird.
    (bolding mine)
    Evolution does not necessarily produce multiple species, it can change the current one. And there doesn't have to be reproductive isolation for this to happen.

  20. #20
    Yeah, I noticed that sentence too, but after reading it a couple of times I concluded that Swift wasn't saying that evolution required speciation.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,128
    Quote Originally Posted by Sock puppet View Post
    Evolution does not necessarily produce multiple species, it can change the current one. And there doesn't have to be reproductive isolation for this to happen.
    It could well be that a species could change to the point where, given a time machine, it could not interbreed with its ancestors. At this point it becomes, by definition, a new species. However, even with the time machine to prove that this has happened, it seems a bit pointless to give the species a new name.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    38,542
    Quote Originally Posted by gwiz View Post
    It could well be that a species could change to the point where, given a time machine, it could not interbreed with its ancestors. At this point it becomes, by definition, a new species. However, even with the time machine to prove that this has happened, it seems a bit pointless to give the species a new name.
    Thanks gwiz, that is what I was thinking. If all whitetailed deer everywhere evolved, at what point would we say it is a different species? There probably is such a point, but I don't know how we would determine it. Also, given the wide distribution of these deer across a lot of North America, it seemed unlikely that the whole species would evolve to something more intelligent because of human influence in certain areas. So I imagined the situation as a new species forming. Same with the geese.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    601
    Quote Originally Posted by Sock puppet View Post
    (bolding mine)
    Evolution does not necessarily produce multiple species, it can change the current one. And there doesn't have to be reproductive isolation for this to happen.
    Yeah...changing the current species, that was what I was talking about. Happened with hominids, right?

  24. #24
    The timespan in which evolution works is quite long, it will take a long time for one particular mutated gene in one deer to become an attribute of almost all deer in the future. Their are a lot of factors in play that make sure it all won't go really fast : some deer with the gene might die before they can reproduce, and other deer without the specific gene might still reproduce...And then their are still the genetics to account for, you have 2 allels of every gene, so you might just not pass the "right" one to your offspring in half of the cases if the particular deer has only one allel of it. (If I'm wrong please correct me)

    But I agree with you that species probably will evolve, as a product of human society. We're all over the place, we're in the environment the deer live in, hence we're a part of the natural selection of deer.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,094
    This still doesn't explain road kill. When will they ever learn "20,ooo years" lol.

    http://www.livingpictures.org/images...ccoondead1.jpg

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    253
    Quote Originally Posted by tzom
    The timespan in which evolution works is quite long, it will take a long time for one particular mutated gene in one deer to become an attribute of almost all deer in the future. Their are a lot of factors in play that make sure it all won't go really fast : some deer with the gene might die before they can reproduce, and other deer without the specific gene might still reproduce...And then their are still the genetics to account for, you have 2 allels of every gene, so you might just not pass the "right" one to your offspring in half of the cases if the particular deer has only one allel of it. (If I'm wrong please correct me)
    Yes, but running deer down is not selecting for a specific gene. It is selecting for any gene which makes them less likely to be run down, or for that matter, any other hereditary factor which achieves this.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    10,433
    Quote Originally Posted by tzom View Post
    The timespan in which evolution works is quite long, it will take a long time for one particular mutated gene in one deer to become an attribute of almost all deer in the future. Their are a lot of factors in play that make sure it all won't go really fast : some deer with the gene might die before they can reproduce, and other deer without the specific gene might still reproduce...And then their are still the genetics to account for, you have 2 allels of every gene, so you might just not pass the "right" one to your offspring in half of the cases if the particular deer has only one allel of it. (If I'm wrong please correct me)

    But I agree with you that species probably will evolve, as a product of human society. We're all over the place, we're in the environment the deer live in, hence we're a part of the natural selection of deer.
    Including the species of deer we picked up on and refined into the modern animal we know as the horse. (Kinda schplain's why they're so danged skittish, doesn't it?)

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    38,542
    Quote Originally Posted by Doodler View Post
    Including the species of deer we picked up on and refined into the modern animal we know as the horse. (Kinda schplain's why they're so danged skittish, doesn't it?)
    I wasn't sure if you were serious, but horses diverged from deer a long time before man became involved in such things (reference).
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    864
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    It is possible. You'd have to show genetic differences and for the "smart" deer to become a separate species they would have to not breed with the other deer. My gut says it is too few generations for this to have happened.

    I do suspect though, that given enough time, we will start seeing some of this. A lot of the Canada Geese around this area no longer migrate, since they have food year round (lawns and such) and don't even seem to fly much any more. I could see that one day that the Lawn Geese will evolve into something like as ostrich, or other flightless bird.
    I am not certain. Perhaps is teaching between parent and child(?), not evolution.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    Posts
    38,542
    Quote Originally Posted by Monique View Post
    I am not certain. Perhaps is teaching between parent and child(?), not evolution.
    An interesting point. We know that a lot of knowledge for mammals is taught, and not just in the great apes and monkeys. For example, black bears teach their young what foods to eat, by example (can't reference on the internet, it was in a book I read about bears). I kind of think deer are not that smart, but maybe I'm not giving them credit.

    I checked google scholar for stuff on deer intelligence/learning and found very little. This is a reference on "Effects of learning on food selection and searching behaviour of deer."
    Last edited by Swift; 2006-Oct-09 at 07:14 PM. Reason: add last paragraph and link
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

    All moderation in purple - The rules

Similar Threads

  1. Cosmology 101: The Present
    By Fraser in forum Universe Today
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2011-Mar-09, 07:50 PM
  2. When is the Present?
    By Arcane in forum Space/Astronomy Questions and Answers
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 2008-Aug-22, 06:00 PM
  3. Where is the Universe present?
    By Attiyah Zahdeh in forum Space/Astronomy Questions and Answers
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 2006-Aug-28, 03:05 AM
  4. Can we see universe in the present ?
    By vkp in forum Astronomy
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 2005-Oct-20, 10:04 PM
  5. You see nothing but the present
    By carlosncarlos in forum Astronomy
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 2003-Nov-09, 04:10 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
here
The forum is sponsored in-part by: