Evidence Of Evolution

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by chikis, May 15, 2012.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Breeds can still interbreed. Species, in general, cannot.

    Well, by definition it IS done for the "betterment" of the plant; undesirable plants are killed and the desirable ones are propagated. However, since that is artificial rather than natural selection it's not evolution per se.
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  3. charles brough Registered Senior Member

    The answer is "History." History never deals with the biological evolution of the human species. Written history goes back some 5,000 years; pre-history is can be judged as going back to the development of speech, but is the field not of the historian but of the archeologist, anthropologist, linguist and others.

    However, social evolution does involve history. Take a look at my webpage. . .

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  5. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I think we can agree it's a poorly worded question that only really tests your testing skills, not one's knowledge of evolution.
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  7. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    It's an answer-stamp. They want you to say...well, embryology, probably. Yet even that has a ring of truth, if only via simple morphological correlation.
  8. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    So what. Like I said, don't over think a simple multiple choice.
  9. Tero Registered Member

  10. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    I believe they're talking human history.
  11. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

    Embryology certainly does provide evidence for evolution; just not quite the way that Haekel presented it, although he was not far off the mark.

    Taxonomy is informed by what we know about evolution; it is not evidence for evolution.

    Taxonomy is the correct answer for which topic does not provide evidence for evolution.

    History is a bit unclear, as the term is undefined.

  12. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Sure sure: it's just differentials in blocks of gene expression. Not too controversial, but there's some times a knee-jerk reaction about it.
  13. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I was inclined to say all of these give evidence of evolution, regardless of how the question is posed.

    I think Darwin's perspective of the finches arose first out of a salient desire to classify them, and then maybe just a moment later, a curiosity about the strangeness of having so many varieties wedged into tight niches while on the islands in general animal life was sparse.

    Classification by beak may seem a bit trivial in consideration of all the details a taxonomist (like Linnaeus for example) deals with, and all the variety. Yet without this prevailing desire to classify and characterize organisms, it's hard to imagine Darwin's work coming to fruition.

    I realize that's not exactly the same as saying taxonomy proves evolution, if this is the intent of the question.

    The subject in my mind that I was about to rule out was history. Obviously the history of the Norman conquest sheds no light on evolution, but then again natural history, and geologic history do. The historical evidence of the great oxygenation event, for example gives evidence that photosynthetic organisms were at their peak, and then when it recedes I suppose we have evidence of an evolution towards aerobic respiration.

    It's kind of an odd question to me, one better suited to discussion maybe than to multiple choice.
  14. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    What about changing gene frequencies via human migration?
  15. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Good point. Now genetics is able to make sense out of history like never before. In fact I might have to take back what I said about the Norman conquest if somehow it showed up in somebody's study as a detectable marker of some kind.
  16. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    The downside would be bloody extracting reams and reams of ancient DNA.

    There's the other side to this one too: we learned migrational gene frequency change as a form of evolution, and it is (classical mathematical sense). But the creation jockeys would just claim that isn't change but replacement of one type with another extant type. They want filthy mutants, not filthy foreigners.
  17. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Hah! Filthy with rotten teeth.

    Yes ideas like migration and gene flow are part of that bigger picture that ID-ists can't warm up to because they're stuck in first gear, with just a few simplifications to blot out the actual science involved.

    Along with the idea that the pieces are all extant comes that old familiar whine that "humans aren't smart enough to create it!" which is so moronic. Of course they're on the verge of eating their words on that anyway so they're going to have to find another way to vent.

    Funny, it would seem so much easier to pick up a high school biology book and read the three to five page article on evolution.... Oh, I forgot- the book was banned.

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  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't like the question.

    'Evolution' of what, exactly? 'Evolution' just means change over time. Biological lines of descent evolve, but so do physical systems, stars, geological formations, storms, societies...

    From looking at the proposed answers, it's apparently biological evolution of species natural selection that's being discussed.

    Fossils, anatomy and embryology are probably fine. Perhaps the author should have put in an option referring to genomics.

    History and taxonomy do seem to be the problematic options here. And as you suggest, the biggest problem with this question is that a plausible case can probably be made for either of those.

    If I was taking a timed multiple choice text that included this question, I'd just take a guess between taxonomy and history and quickly move on to the next question.

    (The way to maximize your score on timed multiple choice tests is to do what you are already doing. Answer the ones that you know, and for the ones you don't know, eliminate possibilities, guess, then forget the question and rapidly move on. Never leave anything blank and complete the test, because even if you're guessing, eliminating most of the possibilities gives you a decent probability of being right a lot of the time.)

    Rhaedas' point is very good. I'm inclined to agree with him that taxonomy might be the answer the question's author intended to be the incorrect one.

    Of course, it depends on how the taxonomy was generated. There's cladistics and stuff. You can pour lots of raw data into a computer and have it generate taxonomies using various algorithms, and the resulting charts should count as evidence. But somehow, I don't think that the question's author was thinking of that.


    And Rav's point is very good good too. History does give us evidence of evolution when we are looking at organisms that reproduce very rapidly, like bacteria. As he says, drug resistance is the classic example. Bacteria are evolving as we speak to thwart our medical therapies.


    The trouble is, the question's author might not have been thinking about that either. When students have to start psychoanalyzing their teachers to figure out what they might have been thinking about when they wrote a particular exam question, it's clearly a badly written question.
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    This is not correct. It's quite common for species to be able to hybridize. It happens frequently in domestication or captivity. The mule is a horse-donkey hybrid and the zebrass (or now "zedonk") is a zebra-donkey hybrid. Tigons and ligers (depending on which is the male and which the female parent) are hardly unusual in private zoos anymore. The various species of Amazon parrot have been hybridized to develop "designer birds," as have the species of macaw, conure, cockatoo, grassland parakeet and African grey parrot. The prized lavender macaw is a fourth-generation hybrid of scarlet and blue-and-gold ancestors.

    Even in the wild it's hardly rare. Wolves and coyotes have been crossbreeding in eastern Canada. The black-headed grosbeak and the rose-breasted grosbeak started hybridizing when the forest on both sides of the Mississippi, which separated their ranges, was cut down and replaced by farms that grow exactly the foods that they both love.

    Some animals are simply more amenable to inter-species dating than others.

    Pollen travels everywhere and hybrid fertilization happens routinely. But normally the hybrid seedling is not as well suited to the environmental conditions as either of its parents so it can't compete for the space. But where humans have come along and disturbed the natural conditions by building roads, utility lines and railroad tracks, stands of hybrid plants are quite common.
    I suspect that whoever wrote this made the common mistake of regarding "history" as encompassing both recorded history and the events that occurred before the technology of writing was invented--which is more properly called "prehistory," as has already been noted.
  20. Grumpy Curmudgeon of Lucidity Valued Senior Member

    The question is probably best answered with history, as history covers a miniscule period of time relative to most evolutionary changes. But even then there is evidence available.

    Another thought is Taxonomy. It is largely arbitrary distinctions between what we deem to be "species" that can obscure almost as much as it reveals. Who would have thought that cattle and bison could interbreed, or that brocolli and cabbage are the same plant? It isn't obvious in taxonomy. Cladistics is somewhat better, at least hinting at the interconnectedness of different forms.


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  21. Kumar Registered Senior Member

    Physical systems, cosmos etc. pass through creation, maintainance & destruction phases. whether evolution to biological lines also experiance these phases (as destruction) is need to be understood.

    Probably such destruction phase may be related to compromising & wekness in stem cell system.

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