If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(NBC News)   Swallows evolve shorter wings to avoid cars, grip it by the husk   (science.nbcnews.com) divider line 63
    More: Interesting, University of Tulsa, urban areas, University of Nebraska, NBC News  
•       •       •

3103 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Mar 2013 at 5:37 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



63 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-03-19 10:53:43 AM

Ed Grubermann: WhyteRaven74: It's not that they evolved shorter wings, it's that having shorter wings is in the given environment more advantageous for survival. Thus those individuals with short wings are more likely to reproduce and reproduce more often, leading to even more short winged individuals in the population. And that change in the frequency of a trait in response to an environmental pressure is what evolution is.

Ergo: they evolved shorter wings.


No speciation. Still just selection pressure.
 
2013-03-19 11:33:46 AM
Where I grew up, we had a lot of desert "morning doves".  They always seem to be flying right at my dad's box like station wagon then at the last second seem to pop up away from the window.  I didn't understand this until I went to collage and too a few classes in aerodynamics.  The little bastards are surfing on the pressure wave created by the mid 70's Buick. I suppose a shorter wing span, increase anhedral angle and more cord would help to catch the "ground effect" while increasing their maneuverability.  Unfortunately this also decreases stability. Making it harder to fly long distances while carrying a cocoanut.
 
2013-03-19 04:10:18 PM
God be praised!
www.intriguing.com
part deux
 
2013-03-19 08:32:20 PM

AverageAmericanGuy: In a scientific test, mice had their tails cut off. Generation after generation, these mice had their tails cut off.

After hundreds of generations, you know how many mice were born without tails?

None. None of them evolved the feature that their environment was forcing on them.

Now maybe these little birds in the wild evolved shorter wings over the course of 30 years. Or maybe they just got smart about staying away from cars on the highway. On the Galapagos Island, birds used to be indifferent or curious about humans. After their encounter with humans, they learned to be wary.

So are we talking about evolution in the space of 30 years, even when scientific studies have shown that environmental pressure does not influence such a change? Or are we talking about learned behavior?

Birds are smart. Bird-brained evolutionists, not so much.


Congratulations! You have refuted Lamarckism.

Well, the story sounds like an urban legend or something misremembered by Karl Pilkington, but in essence, the idea of getting short-tailed mice by cutting their tales off sounds Lamarckian. Of course, cutting mice's tails off doesn't really affect their chances of reproducing (Darwinian evolution) or the usefulness of long versus short-tails (Lamarckian evolution). In fact, it is unlikely to have any effect on sexual selectiion because female mice don't have fetishes for stumpy males, but be that as it may, apart from not understanding how evolution works, and using an ancient hoary bit of Christian glurge as an argument (thus embarrassing Bevets, where ever he is), the key point is ... well, I don't remember so I'll get back to watching my Bugs Bunny cartoon now.
 
2013-03-19 09:13:10 PM
A similar thing happened in my native province when the Yellow Grosbeak was introduced in hopes that it would eat the spruce budworm. They didn't seem to have a taste for spruce budworm, or even living in the deep woods for that matter. Instead, they liked to flock along the side of the roads in considerable numbers, something which no local birds did, eating salty gravel (presumably they instinctively swallow small pebbles to grind their food, like dinosaurs did, or just liked the salt and roadside insects which would be easy meals).

In any case, they were killed in large numbers because of their habit of not fleeing before cars and trucks and instead flying up into the grills. They kept this up for several generations and then gradually disappeared. This could be a case of learning although the young birds never got a chance to observe their parents avoidance of cars because they grew up in nests hidden away in trees away from the roads.

But somehow they adapted to cars by staying away from them so effectively that you hardly see one any more. They are still there, but if they want salt or gravel, they seem to get them some other way or else in smaller numbers, and have learned to fly away from cars, not towards them. I say learned, but they are not really very smart even by bird standards, and it is more likely that they have acquired an instinct, which is a built-in pattern of behaviour, hard-wired into bird brains rather than a cultural or even learned response.

Since they don't flock like they used to, they can't teach each other not to fly into cars and trucks. They probably have this lesson imprinted on their brains, like a natural fear of predators.

It generally takes a long time for anything complex to evolve, but the brain is extremely flexible and death is a topiary artist that can, when she needs to, work faster than mutations or genes alone. Even evolutionary scientists are learned that Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeves that they didn't know about. One of these is epigenetic traits, acquired in a sort of semi-Lamarckian process where stress makes behaviour and other alterations inheritable from parents or even grandparents by affecting the expression of genes rather than the genetic code per se. Another trick is, of course, culture. Birds are smart enough to watch other birds and learn where they hide their stash, but are also smart enough in some cases to learn to deceive other birds and squirrels by "lying".

But in the case of the shorter wings, you can measure and compare generations of wings, as well as do the math to correlate shorter wings to swifter or more manoeuvrable flight.

I'm inclined to believe the experts until other experts come up with reasonable refutations. I do not rely upon Karl Pilkington or Christian email lists for scientific data or arguments.

The success and failure of invasive or introduced species can tell us much about adaptation and evolution. Not only can we study the invaders, but the response of the invaded. Many species that looked like goners have made good come-backs by learning new tricks or adjusting to eat new food or survive by natural selection that makes them more aggressive, bigger, or otherwise better able to cope with the competition.

And competition is a big part of evolutionary theory. Darwin did not, contrary to the slanders of creationists, read Karl Marx. He read the liberal economists like Smith and Ricardo. His theory of competition was one of the key points of difference from his grand-father's theory of evolution (Dr. Erasmus Darwin, however, was one of the lights of the Enlightenment and a financier and friend of the leaders of the Industrial Revolution--the family's wealth came from his sage investments of his sizeable income in the cotton mills that also fostered and financed Engels and Marx).

It was while reading these masters of capitalism and economics that Darwin was invited to tour the world on the Beagle as the Captain's companion. The ship already had an official biologist (who wrote a book which can be read alongside Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle for interesting insights). While evolutionary psychology is a young science and a bit prone to jumping the gun with it's pronouncements, it is a valid endeavour and making progress. Darwin, on the other hand, is still one of the greatest minds of all time, and a very scrupulous, almos OCD-ridden, scientist who never, ever let himself be rushed, except that one time when Alfred Russell Wallace, a young biologist who made his living collecting specimens for collectors  and museums, sent him a theory of evolution which was almost exactly the same as his own little project of nearly thirty years.

Wallace, unlike Darwin, refused to believe the human brain could have evolved. He pulled his punches, so to speak, and insisted that there must be a God. Darwin was disillusioned by the death of his little daughter and by the cruelty, wastefulness and appalling callousness of the inventions he saw in natural, such as the Ichneumon Wasp that lays its eggs in the living flesh of caterpillars and whose young devour the creature alive.

A Quaker, like his wife Emma, although he converted publically to be allowed to attend university and study medicine, he refused to believe that Providence could be, in the naive words of Randell Churchill, a " royal shiat".

Nature, on the other hand, IS an avowed Royal Biatch and doesn't care a bit for the little sparrow that falls. Like most American Conservatives, she contemns the weak and the "inferior" and thinks a little hard love is good for them. What doesn't kill her creatures outright can only make them stronger. Except, of course, from her point of few, the violet is less weak and inferior than Tyrannosaurus rex was, or else we'd have T. rex and not those little white violets that escape the blades of the lawn-mower on lawns all over North America.

That's a thought which came to me whilst mowing my Father's lawn and thinking of the little flowers that escaped the scything blades of death on a river bank where mammoths once went down to the water to drink.

Some are first that shall be last, and others that are last shall be first, as the Bible puts it. Ain't Nature funny? Nearly as funny as Conservatve Christians and others of the ilk.

I'm with Darwin. It's an appalling business that outrages my liberal heart. But humans, unlike Nature, can know better and change how things work so long as they don't violate laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

I also share the opinion of Sir Terry Pratchett, expressed in the introduction to his book on evolution on Discworld, where he points out that Darwin was a great theologian. He was such a great theologian, that he solved the Problem of Evil, absolving both Man and God of all the evil in the world. You see death (and to some extent sin, such as the sins of the capitalist) are productive, like the pruning devices of the topiary artist. Death creates life and then prunes it into rich and gorgeous shapes of fancy. This removes the apparent tautology from natural selection. It is not a question of the best survivors surviving. It is a question of energy flowing along the knife's edge of the knife between chaos and excessful uniformity. Galaxies form and die, stars form and explode, the elements are created, we are all star dust. Even volcanoes and the subduction of continents have made us possible. From the raging nuclear fire of Suns, we have received gifts of oxygen, carbon and nitrogen--all the elements between the original three created in the Big Bang and Iron. From the even more destructive powers of blue giants, we have received every other element above iron.

I am proud to be the product of billions of years of slow progress rather than thousands of years of everything going to Hell in a Handcart pushed by God and robbed of apples by the Devil, thank you.
 
2013-03-19 11:22:34 PM

ciberido:

uttertosh: dready zim: If only it still applied to humans.

AAG is clearly operating under the assumption that trolls will inherit the earth.

Wait, did he say "Blessed are the cheesemakers?"
Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.
 
2013-03-19 11:39:25 PM

brantgoose:

Well, the story sounds like an urban legend or something misremembered by Karl Pilkington, but in essence, the idea of getting short-tailed mice by cutting their tales off sounds Lamarckian. Of course, cutting mice's tails off doesn't really affect their chances of reproducing (Darwinian evolution) or the usefulness of long versus short-tails (Lamarckian evolution).
Holy farking shiat.  Cut off tails are NOT an inherited characteristic, FFS.  You should NEVER attempt to correct anyone on anything to do with science... not even someone as dumb and/or trolling as AAG.
 
2013-03-19 11:48:15 PM

brantgoose:

I am proud to be the product of billions of years of slow progress rather than thousands of years of everything going to Hell in a Handcart pushed by God and robbed of apples by the Devil, thank you.
Whatever...  Just get on the cart.  You're not fooling anyone, you know--
 
2013-03-20 01:42:01 AM

GeneralJim: brantgoose: Well, the story sounds like an urban legend or something misremembered by Karl Pilkington, but in essence, the idea of getting short-tailed mice by cutting their tales off sounds Lamarckian. Of course, cutting mice's tails off doesn't really affect their chances of reproducing (Darwinian evolution) or the usefulness of long versus short-tails (Lamarckian evolution).Holy farking shiat.  Cut off tails are NOT an inherited characteristic, FFS.  You should NEVER attempt to correct anyone on anything to do with science... not even someone as dumb and/or trolling as AAG.



Yeah, Jews been circumcizing their kids for 5000 years, why they still getting born with foreskins? Why? Because Jesus, that's why.
 
2013-03-20 03:59:15 AM

bongmiester: but but but bananas

[www.damnedifgodexists.com image 600x788]


upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-03-20 04:39:36 AM
WeenerGord: .


Yeah, Jews been circumcizing their kids for 5000 years, why they still getting born with foreskins? Why? Because Jesus, that's why.


LOL.
 
2013-03-20 11:30:45 AM
Are you suggesting that cars migrate?
 
2013-03-21 07:23:14 AM

Crewmannumber6:

Are you suggesting that cars migrate?

us.123rf.com

What (African) cars migrating might look like
 
Displayed 13 of 63 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report