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Evolution moves more quickly than scientists thought
The Kansas City Star ^ | November 18, 2006 | Eric Hand

Posted on 11/19/2006 1:00:27 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger

ST. LOUIS - Evolution happens. But it can also stop and turn on a dime.

A new study of lizards in the Bahamas shows that the natural selection pressures that drive evolution can flip-flop faster than previously thought - even in months.

"Darwin was right about so many things," said Jonathan Losos, a former Washington University biologist who led the study. "In this case he was wrong. He thought that evolution must occur slowly and gradually."

The lizards and their changing leg lengths are yet another case of evolution occurring in real time. From finches that evolve longer beaks in a few years to bacteria that adapt to strange feeding regimens in days, evolution, as a science, has leapt out of musty museums and into the field.

Scientists say that, from a political perspective, the cases offer a vivid reminder of the continuous process that some people imagine proceeding only in fossilized fits and starts: First monkey, then man.

But for the scientists themselves, the cases show that evolutionary biology has, well, evolved into a predictive, experimental science like any other.

Losos had the perfect Petri dishes: 12 tiny islands in the Bahamas with small populations of insect-eating Anolis sagrei, six-inch long lizards that normally live on the ground but can adapt to life in trees.

On six of the islands, Losos introduced a predator, a large curly-tailed lizard that can gobble up the lizards. He theorized that at first, the fastest prey would survive as they ran for the trees. Natural selection would reward long legs. Then, as the little lizards adapted to life in trees, nimble twig maneuvers and shorter legs would be rewarded.

At the start of the experiment, the scientists, using dental floss nooses on the ends of 10-foot poles, caught all lizards and carefully measured their hind-limbs. After the first six months, their predictions held up. The average leg length of survivors was 2 percent longer than those that were killed. After a year, leg length was 3 percent shorter. The changes were small in absolute terms but statistically very large, said R. Brian Langerhans, a graduate student with Losos.

The study appeared Friday in the journal Science. Losos did the research while at Washington University, but left for Harvard University in June.

The lizard study echoes one of the classic cases of evolution-in-action: Darwin's finches on the Galapagos Islands. For more than 30 years, Princeton University biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant have measured changes in the finches' beaks. After extended droughts, small seeds became more scarce. In a few years, the finches evolved longer beaks to crack the larger, tough seeds that remained. Then as more plentiful times returned, the bird beaks got smaller again.

At Michigan State University, Richard Lenski is studying evolution in test tubes. For almost 20 years, he has reared 12 colonies of E. coli. They have divided more than 30,000 times - which, in terms of human generations, is longer than Homo sapiens has been around. Lenski has challenged the bacteria with strange feeding patterns - feeding them sugars, then starving them.

The colonies all adapted, quickly. But they used different genetic tricks to get there. Their DNA is now remarkably different: an example of parallel evolution.

It's difficult to know how an organism will adapt, and also how subtle environmental changes will kick evolution off in a striking new direction, said Ken Petron, a University of Cincinnati ecologist who worked with the Grants on their finches.

For example, on one trip to the Galapagos during a time of seed scarcity, the Grants expected to find the trend toward larger beaks. But a new, larger finch had colonized the island and was eating the larger seeds, Petron said. It was no longer an advantage for the smaller finches to grow larger beaks.

"It's very difficult to predict the outcome of evolution before it happens," he said.

But if biologists can get better at predicting evolution, it could have applications for areas in which humans are altering the environment and causing evolutionary pressures themselves, Langerhans said. Stanford University ecologist Stephen Palumbi has estimated a $50 billion "evolution bill" associated with the antibiotic and pesticide resistance that bacteria, weeds and insects have evolved in medicine and agriculture.

Had the experiment continued, Losos expected the lizard legs to get even shorter with successive generations. But two hurricanes in quick succession submerged the little islands. "All the living lizards were washed away. Bummer," Losos said.

Some eggs survived, however, and hatchling populations are growing. Losos plans to start the experiment over.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: crevolist; evolution; naturalselection; religionisobsolete
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To: RunningWolf
Doing things like replacing DLR's avatar with an image of a penis, then locking him out so he cant change it.

More lies from a drunken poster. We do not use such pix on our site (no matter how much you might fantasize about it), and DLR was warned to abide by posting rules. He was given the same chances as everyone else there, but he ignored them. Oh well, the other two creationists posting there have not had the same problem. Go figure. Of course, like I said, you are a liar. But, hey, what can we expect of someone who stalks a sweet littly lady across forums?

541 posted on 11/22/2006 12:06:14 PM PST by Junior (Losing faith in humanity one person at a time.)
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To: taxesareforever
He says it is okay as long as I get satifaction from getting under the skin of the evos. He says this is the best medicine for me.

So basically you type your lies with one hand...

542 posted on 11/22/2006 12:07:11 PM PST by Junior (Losing faith in humanity one person at a time.)
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To: taxesareforever
And this would be opposed to evos blatant BIG LIE of evolution.

Okay, you've just called hundreds of thousands of biologists "liars." Would you care to back up your claim, or will you run, cowardly, like you did from your other unsupportable claim up thread?

543 posted on 11/22/2006 12:08:28 PM PST by Junior (Losing faith in humanity one person at a time.)
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To: billybudd
You're right. Jewish scholars from 2,500 years ago knew much more about how the earth evolved than modern scientists. Let's listen to them.

Well, thanks for the advice. I am curious, what university did Moses attend? Oops! My mistake, you were referring to the authors! I expect they have attended all of them; omnipresence and all, dontcha know...

544 posted on 11/22/2006 12:24:01 PM PST by 70times7 (Sense... some don't make any, some don't have any - or so the former would appear to the latter.)
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To: Junior

Backing up my claim:

http://www.icr.org/

Another reference: The Holy Bible


545 posted on 11/22/2006 2:46:19 PM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: Junior
So basically you type your lies with one hand...

No no. That is you on your meds. Don't mistake me for taking the same treatment as you.

546 posted on 11/22/2006 2:51:45 PM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: Texas Songwriter
You sure are wasting a lot of effort to accomplish nothing but demonstrating stubborn willful ignorance. If you want more detailed answers to your questions, spend some time reading post 378.
547 posted on 11/22/2006 3:38:51 PM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: shuckmaster

Perfect response!

This thread is an embarrassment with two posterd acknowledging dishonesty without a scintilla of shame.


548 posted on 11/22/2006 3:51:15 PM PST by From many - one.
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To: Junior; DaveLoneRanger
You don’t use such pix and I am a liar? What kind of drugs are you guys on over there Junior/Central Archivist? Even as of today the dildo image is in your images-ranks directory. Not to swift of you there junior.

darwincentral.org/images/ranks/dildo.jpg

That image has been there since Sept 21 2006.

You were using that image against DLR on Oct 28 2006 3:07 PM, there were other occurrences also. Yeh, there is some major lying going on and you are the perp.., jerk. .

Man that is just plain ignorant, capiche? Good good, glad we got that settled.

DLR, standby for freepmail of links to various screen captures with doument info (url source, time stamps etc).

W.
549 posted on 11/22/2006 3:56:48 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: Junior
Oh BTW, if you want to call me liar on anything else regarding those subjects, I have detailed screen capts of everything.,, capiche??

good good junior, now run along now.

W.
550 posted on 11/22/2006 6:49:30 PM PST by RunningWolf (2-1 Cav 1975)
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To: shuckmaster

We will leave it with you. Thanks.


551 posted on 11/22/2006 7:01:07 PM PST by Texas Songwriter
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To: shuckmaster

We will leave it with you. Thanks.


552 posted on 11/22/2006 7:01:10 PM PST by Texas Songwriter
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To: jonathanmo

I agree completely with your post #512....you nailed it...


553 posted on 11/22/2006 8:32:06 PM PST by andysandmikesmom
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To: taxesareforever
Backing up my claim:
http://www.icr.org/
Another reference: The Holy Bible

*Heck!* Even LC is more specific ! *Gosh!*

BTW, Newton wasn't a liar, though his mechanics were shown to be incorrect. Even Aristotle was no lier, though spilling a lot of claims which were shown to be false later.
The reason: Up to their best knowledge, they told the truth. That's the difference to your posts

554 posted on 11/23/2006 12:38:13 AM PST by si tacuissem (.. lurker mansissem)
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To: RunningWolf; Junior; jennyp; DaveLoneRanger; Coyoteman
That image has been there since Sept 21 2006.

Central Archivist/Junior, for somebody who has been throwing around the label "liar", you certainly exposed yourself as fitting the bill completely. Your disavowal in post #541 is the height of being disingenuous.

You can argue for your belief in evolution. However, to use an image of a dildo on a debate opponent, man.. don't you guys have any pride?? That is so eighth grade. For a bunch of "scientists", your credibility is sinking into the gutter, along with your website.

I felt a little sympathy for your cohort earlier this month, but I'm seeing what Jim Robinson saw, when he started cutting you folks down to size.

555 posted on 11/23/2006 1:07:22 PM PST by Moorings
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To: Junior; RunningWolf; gobucks; mikeus_maximus; JudyB1938; isaiah55version11_0; Elsie; LiteKeeper; ...
Junior, I'm finding it very hard to believe that you so blatantly lied just now. The claims of "liar!" fly fast and thick, and are rarely truly applicable in the sense that someone willfully distorted facts. (IE, a lot of evolutionists really DO believe in evolution, so what we argue about is whether or not the facts support evolution)

However, this case is the exception. You have demonstrably put forth a complete and utter falsehood regarding your treatment of me on your forum.

When RunningWolf called you on that, you make absolutely no reply. This cannot stand. Either respond, or any further appearance you make on Free Republic will be to your discredit and shame.


556 posted on 11/23/2006 2:48:24 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger ("I am here to fight evil and exchange good-natured barbs." - The Tick)
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To: RunningWolf

Appreciate the little revelation there. It sure cuts into anyone's credibility to be caught red handed like that. Just to let you know that people are out there seeing it.


557 posted on 11/23/2006 3:27:42 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

You have demonstrably put forth a complete and utter falsehood regarding your treatment of me on your forum.

You really are a drama queen.

558 posted on 11/23/2006 5:07:28 PM PST by ml1954 (ID = Case closed....no further inquiry allowed...now move along.)
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To: si tacuissem

But the BIG LIE calls God a liar. Sounds like you sign on to the BIG LIE and therefore you are calling God a liar. You can call me a liar all you want but if you say God is a liar you will have to answer to Him, not me.


559 posted on 11/23/2006 5:24:41 PM PST by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: RunningWolf

It's a dildo dipwit. Well, I can see where you might have made the mistake, having never seen the real thing before.


560 posted on 11/23/2006 5:25:26 PM PST by Junior (Losing faith in humanity one person at a time.)
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