Skip to comments.Toxic Toads Evolving Super-Fast
Posted on 02/15/2006 1:30:20 PM PST by PatrickHenry
Fat, toxic toads at the leading edge of an Australian invasion have evolved longer legs than those behind the front lines, report biologists.
The alarming discovery not only means the toads can spread more quickly over the continent, but it raises the possibility that under the right conditions, animal evolution can happen in just decades, not eons.
That, in turn, has major implications for animals adapting to global warming, as well as biological pest control projects, which generally take for granted that carefully studied animals introduced to fight off invasive species can not evolve into something troublesome.
The inexorable, seven-decade-long expansion of cane toads from their disastrous introduction to Queensland in 1935 has long been monitored by biologists.
One such biologist was recently driving along a toad-crowded road one night, along the invasion front about 40 miles east of Darwin, when he noticed how desperately the toads were hopping grimly toward him, all facing the same way: into virgin territory.
"It was just like an invasion in a science fiction movie," said biologist Richard Shine of the University of Sydney.
Shine is a snake specialist, but when the toads began heading toward his study area, he decided it would be wise to "know thine enemy" before they arrived, he explained.
So for years Shine and his colleagues have been tracking cane toads, and as a matter of course they weigh the toads and measure them. Those records came in handy when they discovered that some cane toads at the invasion front were covering an unprecedented mile-and-a-quarter (two kilometers) each night.
"Sure enough, there was a pattern," said Shine of their astonishing leg-length discovery.
Not only were the legs of pioneer toads significantly longer, but the same athletic build dies out among toads as areas become more settled.
In other words, there appears to be a great advantage to getting the first crack at virgin territory. That boils down to the opportunity to produce more viable tadpoles that grow up to continue the line. For seven decades now that advantage has been awarded to cane toads with the longest legs. That has lead to the steady breeding of longer and longer-legged toads that can keep beating the crowd.
The disheartening result is that the toad invasion rate has increased from seven miles per year in the 1950s to a whopping 30 miles per year today, report Shine and his colleagues in the Feb. 16 edition of Nature.
The silver lining is that the cane toads are showing how quickly some species can adapt to new environments, a challenge now facing innumerable species worldwide as the global climate warms, said ecologist and rapid evolution researcher David Skelly of Yale University.
"We never think of evolutionary changes happening that fast," said Skelly of his fellow ecologists.
That has to change, because the cane toads are just a high profile case of something that is being seen in many organisms all over the planet, he said.
"It doesn't mean that we have no problem (with climate change) or that all species will be viable," said Skelly. But there is evidence that many species might be more able to adapt than previously believed.
Another place where people have to start thinking about rapid evolution is at the federal and state agencies where they evaluate exotic species for release as biological checks on exotic pests, said Skelly.
Right now those agencies don't consider the possibility that a new exotic species will very likely change in its new environment, for better or worse. It's time they started thinking differently, he said.
ayup, they're toads
Thanks for the ping!
"Hiya, Kids! Hiya!Hiya!"
Well goollleee! When it becomes a kangaroo, let us know.
Saw the title and thought this was about the Democratic Party.
This thing ended up in the "chat" forum pretty quick.
Wait - does he mean that any supposed 'global warming' isn't really a factor at all, that species can survive and adapt and even improve? Hmmm... I think the real alarm is that the toads are spreading at a faster rate, not so much their preoccupation with global warming, but rather how to quell these toxic toads.
(inset pic of Susan Estridge here)
Or discovers that FLIGHT is faster than hopping and sprouts feathered wings.
lol. I think the most toads have figured out in order to survive, is to hide in mud. If pursued by enemy combatants, even Rambo-Rocky Balboa can think this up.
The Darwinists just never stop with the nonsense do they? We've already been taken down this primrose path by Darwin himself. He observed that the beaks of the Galapagos Island finches grew in the area of tenths of a milimeter as a result of draught. This, he claimed, was proof of 'natural selection' and 'evolution'. It was ballyhood around Darwinist circles as great evidence of 'evolution' for a century. Trouble for Darwinists is, that it has been discovered that the beaks return to normal size as soon as the drought is over, meaning it is merely a built-in adaption process, not 'evolution'.
Then there was the peppered moth 'evolution' evidence. The 'scientists' showed photos of moths that had seemingly changed colors to adapt to the environmental pollution caused by the industrial revolution, (soot, etc). The Darwinists declared the moths rapidly changed colors to avoid being seen and eaten, (hence 'natural selection'). Problem this time for the Darwinists was that the moths were faked, and they were glued to the trees by 'scientists'.
Then of course there was the earlier nonsense about the human fetus having "fish gills" and a "tailbone", which turned out to be the ear canal and the spine, (which developed before the legs did).
Need I mention the facts about Piltdown Man,
or "Archaeoraptor", (named "Piltdown Bird' because a donosaur's tail was glued to the bird)?
Oh, OK. I guess that means that evolution is false.
[Need I mention the facts about the evangelist Jim Jones]
Oh, OK. I guess that means that faith in God is false.
"Archaeoraptor", (named "Piltdown Bird' because a donosaur's tail was glued to the bird)?
Oh, OK. I guess that means the evolution is false.
[Marjoe, the fake evangelist named after "Mary and Joseph" and wrote the tell all book about the revival preaching "business".]
Oh, OK. I guess that means that faith in God is false.
We could continue this for awhile.
Intentionally and falsely trying to pass off Pandas as a science book is a far bigger and far more outrageous fraud, and will do more to destroy the ID charlatans at the Discovery Institute, than a whole army of Piltdown Men.
As Plaintiffs meticulously and effectively presented to the Court, Pandas went through many drafts, several of which were completed prior to and some after the Supreme Court's decision in Edwards [Edwards v. Aguillard], which held that the Constitution forbids teaching creationism as science. By comparing the pre and post Edwards drafts of Pandas, three astonishing points emerge:Source: Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al..(1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of ID;This word substitution is telling, significant, and reveals that a purposeful change of words was effected without any corresponding change in content, which directly refutes FTE's [FTE = the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, the publisher of Pandas] argument that by merely disregarding the words "creation" and "creationism," FTE expressly rejected creationism in Pandas. In early pre-Edwards drafts of Pandas, the term "creation" was defined as "various forms of life that began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features intact -- fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc," the very same way in which ID is defined in the subsequent published versions.
(2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and
(3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards.
From now on -- thanks to the geniuses at DI, the discredited fools on the Dover school board, and their dedicated lawyers -- when the creationists raise the phony issue of Piltdown Man, or Nebraska Man, or Peppered Moths, or Haeckel's Embryos, none of which amounts to anything anyway, the rational side of the argument has been given the all-time slam-dunk response -- Pandas!
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