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The domestication of the russian silver fox. (40 year fast track evolution)
| (10/29/02 3:59:34 pm)
Posted on 12/16/2002 6:21:39 PM PST by dennisw
Early Canid Domestication:
The Farm Fox Experiment
Foxes bred for tameability in a 40-year experiment exhibit remarkable transformations that suggest an interplay between behavioral genetics and development.
When scientists ponder how animals came to be domesticated, they almost inevitably wind up thinking about dogs. The dog was probably the first domestic animal, and it is the one in which domestication has progressed the furthest - far enough to turn Canis lupus into Canis familiaris.
Evolutionary theorists have long speculated about exactly how dogs' association with human beings may have been linked to their divergence from their wild wolf forebears, a topic that anthropologist Darcy Morey has discussed in some detail in the pages of this magazine, (July-August, 1994). As Morey pointed out, debates about the origins of animal domestication tend to focus on "the issue of intentionality" - the extent to which domestication was the result of deliberate human choice. Was domestication actually "self-domestication," the colonization of new ecological niches by animals such as wolves? Or did it result from intentional decisions by human beings? How you answer those questions will determine how you understand the morphological and physiological changes that domestication has brought about-whether as the results of the pressure of natural selection in a new niche, or as deliberately cultivated advantageous traits.
In many ways, though, the question of intentionality is beside the point. Domestication was not a single event but rather a long, complex process. Natural selection and artificial selection may both have operated at different times or even at the same time. For example, even if prehistoric people deliberately set out to domesticate wolves, natural selection would still have been at work. The selective regime may have changed drastically when wolves started living with people, but selective pressure continued regardless of anything Homo sapiens chose to do.
Another problem with the debate over intentionality is that it can overshadow other important questions. For example, in becoming domesticated, animals have undergone a host of changes in morphology, physiology and behavior. What do those changes have in common?
Do they stem from a single cause, and if so, what is it? In the case of the dog, Morey identifies one common factor as pedomorphosis,the retention of juvenile traits by adults. Those traits include both morphological ones, such as skulls that are unusually broad for their length, and behavioral ones, such as whining, barking and submissiveness - all characteristics that wolves outgrow but that dogs do not. Morey considers pedomorphosis in dogs a byproduct of natural selection for earlier sexual maturity and smaller body size, features that, according to evolutionary theory, ought to increase the fitness of animals engaged in colonizing a new ecological niche.
The common patterns are not confined to a single species. In a wide range of mammals - herbivores and predators, large and small - domestication seems to have brought with it strikingly similar changes in appearance and behavior: changes in size, changes in coat color, even changes in the animals' reproductive cycles. Our research group at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Siberia, has spent decades investigating such patterns and other questions of the early evolution of domestic animals. Our work grew out of the interests and ideas of the late director of our institute, the geneticist Dmitry K. Belyaev.
Like Morey, Belyaev believed that the pattems of changes observed in domesticated animals resulted from genetic changes that occurred in the course of selection. Belyaev, however, believed that the key factor selected for was not size or reproduction, but behavior; specifically amenability to domestication, or tamability. More than any other quality, Belyaev believed, tamability must have determined how well an animal would adapt to life among human beings. Because behavior is rooted in biology, selecting for tameness and against aggression means selecting for physiological changes in the systems that govem the body's hormones and neurochemicals. Those changes, in turn, could have had far-reaching effects on the development of the animals themselves, effects that might well explain why different animals would respond in similar ways when subjected to the same kinds of selective pressures.
To test his hypothesis, Belyaev decided to turn back the clock to the point at which animals received the first challenge of domestication. By replaying the process, he would be able to see how changes in behavior, physiology and morphology first came about. Of course, reproducing the ways and means of those ancient transformations, even in the roughest outlines, would be a formidable task. To keep things as clear and simple as possible, Belyaev designed a selective-breeding program to reproduce a single major factor, a strong selection pressure for tamability. He chose as his experimental model a species taxonomically close to the dog but never before domesticated: Vulpes vulpes, the silver fox. Belyaev's fox-breeding experiment occupied the last 26 years of his life.
Today, 14 years after his death, it is still in progress. Through genetic selection alone, our research group has created a population of tame foxes fundamentally different in temperament and behavior from their wild forebears. In the process we have observed some striking changes in physiology, morphology and behavior, which mirror the changes known in other domestic animals and bear out many of Belyaev's ideas.
Belyaev began his experiment in 1959, a time when Soviet genetics was starting to recover from the anti-Darwinian ideology of Trofim Lysenko. Belyaev's own career had suffered. In 1948, his commitment to orthodox genetics had cost him his job as head of the Department of Fur Animal Breeding at the Central Research Laboratory of Fur Breeding in Moscow. During the 1950s he continued to conduct genetic research under the guise of studying animal physiology. He moved to Novosibirsk, where he helped found the Siberian Department of the Soviet (now Russian) Academy of Sciences and became the director of the Department's Institute of Cytology and Genetics, a post he held from 1959 until his death in 1985. Under his leadership the institute became a center of basic and applied research in both classical genetics and modern molecular genetics. His own work included ground-breaking investigations of evolutionary change in animals under extreme conditions (including domestication) and of the evolutionary roles of factors such as stress, selection for behavioral traits and the environmental photoperiod, or duration of natural daylight. Animal domestication was his lifelong project, and fur bearers were his favorite subjects.
Early in the process of domestication, Belyaev noted, most domestic animals had undergone the same basic morphological and physiological changes. Their bodies changed in size and proportions, leading to the appearance of dwarf and giant breeds. The normal pattern of coat color that had evolved as camouflage in the wild altered as well. Many domesticated animals are piebald, completely lacking pigmentation in specific body areas. Hair turned wavy or curly, as it has done in Astrakhan sheep, poodles, domestic donkeys, horses, pigs, goats and even laboratory mice and guinea pigs. Some animals' hair also became longer (Angora type) or shorter (rex type).
Tails changed, too. Many breeds of dogs and pigs carry their tails curled up in a circle or semicircle. Some dogs, cats and sheep have short tails resulting from a decrease in the number of tail vertebrae. Ears became floppy. As Darwin noted in chapter 1 of On the Origin of Species, "not a single domestic animal can be named which has not in some country drooping ears" - a feature not found in any wild animal except the elephant.
Another major evolutionary consequence of domestication is loss of the seasonal rhythm of reproduction. Most wild animals in middle latitudes are genetically programmed to mate once a year, during mating seasons cued by changes in daylight. Domestic animals at the same latitudes, however, now can mate and bear young more than once a year and in any season.
Belyaev believed that similarity in the patterns of these traits was the result of selection for amenability to domestication. Behavioral responses, he reasoned, are regulated by a fine balance between neurotransmitters and hormones at the level of the whole organism. The genes that control that balance occupy a high level in the hierarchical system of the genome. Even slight alterations in those regulatory genes can give rise to a wide network of changes in the developmental processes they govern. Thus, selecting animals for behavior may lead to other, far-reaching changes in the animals' development. Because mammals from widely different taxonomic groups share similar regulatory mechanisms for hormones and neurochemistry, it is reasonable to believe that selecting them for similar behavior - tameness - should alter those mechanisms, and the developmental pathways they govern, in similar ways.
For Belyaev's hypothesis to make evolutionary sense, two more things must be true. Variations in tamability must be determined at least partly by an animal's genes, and domestication must place that animal under strong selective pressure. We have looked into both questions. In the early 1960s our team studied the patterns and nature of tamability in populations of farm foxes. We cross-bred foxes of different behavior, cross-fostered newborns and even transplanted embryos between donor and host mothers known to react differently to human beings. Our studies showed that about 35 percent of the variations in the foxes' defense response to the experimenter are genetically determined. To get some idea of how powerful the selective pressures on those genes might have been, our group has domesticated other animals, including river otters (Lutra lutra) and gray rats (Rattus norvegicus) caught in the wild. Out of 50 otters caught during recent years, only eight of them (16 percent) showing weak defensive behavior made a genetic contribution to the next generation. Among the gray rats, only 14 percent of the wild-caught yielded offspring living to adulthood. If our numbers are typical, it is clear that domestication must place wild animals under extreme stress and severe selective pressure.
In setting up our breeding experiment, Belyaev bypassed that initial trauma. He began with 30 male foxes and 100 vixens, most of them from a commercial fur farm in Estonia. The founding foxes were already tamer than their wild relatives. Foxes had been farmed since the beginning of this century, so the earliest steps of domestication-capture, caging and isolation from other wild foxes-had already left their marks on our foxes' genes and behavior.
From the outset, Belyaev selected foxes for tameness and tameness alone, a criterion we have scrupulously followed. Selection is strict;in recent years, typically not more than 4 or 5 percent of male offspring and about 20 percent of female offspring have been allowed to breed.
To ensure that their tameness results from genetic selection, we do not train the foxes. Most of them spend their lives in cages and are allowed only brief "time dosed" contacts with human beings. Pups are caged with their mothers until they are I/2 to 2 months old. Then they are caged with their litter mates but without their mothers. At three months, each pup is moved to its own cage.
To evaluate the foxes for tameness, we give them a series of tests. When a pup is one month old, an experimenter offers it food from his hand while trying to stroke and handle the pup. The pups are tested twice, once in a cage and once while moving freely with other pups in an enclosure, where they can choose to make contact either with the human experimenter or with another pup. The test is repeated monthly until the pups are six or seven months old.
At seven or eight months, when the foxes reach sexual maturity, they are scored for tameness and assigned to one of three classes. The least domesticated foxes, those that flee from experimenters or bite when stroked or handled, are assigned to Class III. (Even Class III foxes are tamer than the calmest farm-bred foxes. Among other things, they allow themselves to be hand fed.) Foxes in Class II let themselves be petted and handled but show no emotionally friendly response to experimenters. Foxes in Class I are friendly toward experimenters, wagging their tails and whining. In the sixth generation bred for tameness we had to add an even higher-scoring category. Members of Class IE, the "domesticated elite," are eager to establish human contact, whimpering to attract attention and sniffing and licking experimenters like dogs. They start displaying this kind of behavior before they are one month old. By the tenth generation, 18 percent of fox pups were elite; by the 20th, the figure had reached 35 percent. Today elite foxes make up 70 to 80 percent of our experimentally selected population.
Now, 40 years and 45,000 foxes after Belyaev began, our experiment has achieved an array of concrete results. The most obvious of them is a unique population of 100 foxes (at latest count), each of them the product of between 30 and 35 generations of selection. They are unusual animals, docile, eager to please and unmistakably domesticated. When tested in groups in an enclosure, pups compete for attention, snarling fiercely at one another as they seek the favor of their human handler. Over the years several of our domesticated foxes have escaped from the fur farm for days. All of them eventually returned. Probably they would have been unable to survive in the wild.
Physically, the foxes differ markedly from their wild relatives. Some of the differences have obvious links to the changes in their social behavior. In dogs, for example, it is well known that the first weeks of life are crucial for forming primary social bonds with human beings. The "window" of bonding opens when a puppy becomes able to sense and explore its surroundings, and it closes when the pup starts to fear unknown stimuli.
According to our studies, nondomesticated fox pups start responding to auditory stimuli on day 16 after birth, and their eyes are completely open by day 18 or 19. On average, our domesticated fox pups respond to sounds two days earlier and open their eyes a day earlier than their nondomesticated cousins. Nondomesticated foxes first show the fear response at 6 weeks of age; domesticated ones show it after 9 weeks or even later. (Dogs show it at 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the breed.) As a result, domesticated pups have more time to become incorporated into a human social environment.
Moreover, we have found that the delayed development of the fear response is linked to changes in plasma levels of corticosteroids, hormones concerned with an animal's adaptation to stress. In foxes, the level of corticosteroids rises sharply between the ages of 2 to 4 months and reach adult levels by the age of 8 months. One of our studies found that the more advanced an animal's selection for domesticated behavior was, the later it showed the fear response and the later came the surge in its plasma corticosteroids. Thus, selection for domestication gives rises to changes in the timing of the postnatal development of certain physiological and hormonal mechanisms underlying the formation of social behavior.
Other physical changes mirror those in dogs and other domesticated animals. In our foxes, novel traits began to appear in the eighth to tenth selected generations. The first ones we noted were changes in the foxes' coat color, chiefly a loss of pigment in certain areas of the body, leading in some cases to a star-shaped pattern on the face similar to that seen in some breeds of dog. Next came traits such as floppy ears and rolled tails similar to those in some breeds of dog. After 15 to 20 generations we noted the appearance of foxes with shorter tails and legs and with underbites or overbites. The novel traits are still fairly rare. Most of them show up in no more than a few animals per 100 to a few per 10,000. Some have been seen in commercial populations, though at levels at least a magnitude lower than we recorded in our domesticated foxes.
What might have caused these changes in the fox population? Before discussing Belyaev's explanation, we should consider other possibilities. Might rates and patterns of changes observed in foxes be due, for example, to inbreeding? That could be true if enough foxes in Belyaev's founding population carried a recessive mutant gene from the trait along with a dominant normal gene that masked its effects. Such mixed-gene, or heterozygous, foxes would have been hidden carriers, unaffected by the mutation themselves but capable of passing it on to later generations.
As Morey pointed out, inbreeding might well have been rampant during the early steps of dog domestication. But it certainly cannot explain the novel traits we have observed in our foxes, for two reasons. First, we designed the mating system for our experimental fox population to prevent it. Through outbreeding with foxes from commercial fox farms and other standard methods, we have kept the inbreeding coefficients for our fox population between 0.02 and 0.07. That means that whenever a fox pup with a novel trait has been born into the herd, the probability that it acquired the trait through inbreeding (that is, by inheriting both of its mutant genes from the same ancestor) has varied between only 2 and 7 percent.
Second, some of the new traits are not recessive: They are controlled by dominant or incompletely dominant genes. Any fox with one of those genes would have shown its effects; there could have been no "hidden carriers" in the original population. Another, subtler possibility is that the novelties in our domesticated population are classic by-products of strong selection for a quantitative trait. In genetics, quantitative traits are characteristics that can vary over a range of possibilities; unlike Gregor Mendel's peas, which were either smooth or wrinkly with no middle ground, quantitative traits such as an animal's size, the amount of milk it produces or its overall friendliness toward human beings can be high, low or anywhere in between. What makes selecting for quantitative traits so perilous is that they (or at least the part of them that is genetic) tend to be controlled not by single genes but by complex systems of genes, known as polygenes. Because polygenes are so intricate, anything that tampers with them runs the risk of upsetting other parts of an organism's genetic machinery. In the case of our foxes, a breeding program that alters a polygene might upset the genetic balance in some animals, causing them to show unusual new traits, most of them harmful to the fox. Note that in this argument, it does not matter whether the trait being selected for is tameness or some other quantitative trait. Any breeding program that affects a polygene might have similar effects.
The problem with that explanation is that it does not explain why we see the particular mutations we do see. If disrupted polygenes are responsible, then the effects of a selection experiment ought to depend strongly on which mutations already existed in the population. If Belyaev had started with 130 foxes from, say, North America, then their descendants today would have ended up with a completely different set of novelties. Domesticating a population of wolves, or pigs, or cattle ought to produce novel traits more different still. Yet as Belyaev pointed out, when we look at the changes in other domesticated animals, the most striking things about them are not how diverse they are, but how similar. Different animals, domesticated by different people at different times in different parts of the world, appear to have passed through the same morphological and physiological evolutionary pathways. How can that be?
According to Belyaev, the answer is not that domestication selects for a quantitative trait but that it selects for a behavioral one. He considered genetic transformations of behavior to be the key factor entraining other genetic events. Many of the polygenes determining behavior may be regulatory, engaged in stabilizing an organism's early development, or ontogenesis. Ontogenesis is an extremely delicate process. In principle, even slight shifts in the sequence of events could throw it into chaos. Thus the genes that orchestrate those events and keep them on track have a powerful role to play. Which genes are they? Although numerous genes interact to stabilize an organism's development, the lead role belongs to the genes that control the functioning of the neural and endocrine systems. Yet those same genes also govern the systems that control an animal's behavior, including its friendliness or hostility toward human beings. So, in principle, selecting animals for behavioral traits can fundamentally alter the development of an organism.
As our breeding program has progressed, we have indeed observed changes in some of the animals' neurochemical and neurohormonal mechanisms. For example, we have measured a steady drop in the hormone-producing activity of the foxes' adrenal glands. Among several other roles in the body, the adrenal cortex comes into play when an animal has to adapt to stress. It releases hormones such as corticosteroids, which stimulate the body to extract energy from its reserves of fats and proteins.
After 12 generations of selective breeding, the basal levels of corticosteroids in the blood plasma of our domesticated foxes had dropped to slightly more than half the level in a control group. After 28 to 30 generations of selection, the level had halved again. The adrenal cortex in our foxes also responds less sharply when the foxes are subjected to emotional stress. Selection has even affected the neurochemistry of our foxes' brains. Changes have taken place in the serotonin system, thought to be the leading mediator inhibiting animals' aggressive behavior. Compared with a control group, the brains of our domesticated foxes contain higher levels of serotonin; of its major metabolite, 5-oxyindolacetic acid; and of tryptophan hydroxylase, the key enzyme of serotonin synthesis. Serotonin, like other neurotransmitters, is critically involved in shaping an animal's development from its earliest stages.
Selection and Development
Evidently, then, selecting foxes for domestication may have triggered profound changes in the mechanisms that regulate their development. In particular, most of the novel traits and other changes in the foxes seem to result from shifts in the rates of certain ontogenetic processes-in other words, from changes in timing. This fact is clear enough for some of the novelties mentioned above, such as the earlier eye opening and response to noises and the delayed onset of the fear response to unknown stimuli. But it also can explain some of the less obvious ones. Floppy ears, for example, are characteristic of newborn fox pups but may get carried over to adulthood.
Even novel coat colors may be attributable to changes in the timing of embryonic development. One of the earliest novel traits we observed in our domesticated foxes was a loss of pigment in parts of the head and body. Belyaev determined that this piebald pattern is governed by a gene that he named Star. Later my colleague Lyudmila Prasolova and I discovered that the Star gene affects the migration rate of melanoblasts, the embryonic precursors of the pigment cells (melanocytes) that give color to an ani- mal's fur. Melanocytes form in the embryonic fox's neural crest and later move to various parts of the embryo's epidermis. Normally this migration starts around days 28 to 31 of the embryo's development. In foxes that carry even a single copy of the Star gene, however, melanoblasts pass into the potentially depigmented areas of the epidermis two days later, on average. That delay may lead to the death of the tardy melanoblasts, thus altering the pigmentation in ways that give rise to the distinctive Star pattern.
One developmental trend to which we have devoted particular attention has to do with the growth of the skull. In 1990 and 1991, after noticing abnormal developments in the skulls and jaws of some of our foxes, we decided to study variations in the animals' cranial traits. Of course, changes in the shape of the skull are among the most obvious ways in which dogs differ from wolves. As I mentioned earlier, Morey believes that they are a result of selection (either natural or artificial) for reproductive timing and smaller body size.
In our breeding experiment, we have selected foxes only for behavior, not size; if anything, our foxes may be slightly longer, on average, than the ones Belyaev started with 40 years ago. Nevertheless, we found that their skulls have been changing. In our domesticated foxes of both sexes, cranial height and width tended to be smaller, and snouts tended to be shorter and wider, than those of a control group of farmed foxes.
Another interesting change is that the cranial morphology of domesticated adult males became somewhat "feminized." In farmed foxes, the crania of males tended to be larger in volume than those of females, and various other proportions differed sharply between the sexes. In the domesticated foxes the sexual dimorphism decreased. The differences in volume remained, but in other respects the skulls of males became more like those of females. Analysis of cranial allometry showed that the changes in skull proportions result either from changes in the timing of the first appearance of particular structures or from changes in their growth rates. Because we studied the skulls only of adult foxes, however, we cannot judge whether any of these changes are pedomorphic, as Morey believes they are in dogs.
The most significant changes in developmental timing in our foxes may be the smallest ones: those that have to do with reproduction. In the wild, foxes reach sexual maturity when they are about 8 months old. They are strict seasonal breeders, mating once a year in response to changes in the length of the day (in Siberia the mating season runs from late January to late March) and giving birth to litters ranging from one to thirteen pups, with an average of four or five. Natural selection has hard-wired these traits into foxes with little or no genetic variation. Fur farmers have tried for decades to breed foxes that would reproduce more often than annually, but all their attempts have failed.
In our experimental fox population, however, some reproductive traits have changed in a correlated manner. The domesticated foxes reach sexual maturity about a month earlier than nondomesticated foxes do, and they give birth to litters that are, on average, one pup larger. The mating season has lengthened. Some females breed out of season, in November-December or April-May, and a few of them have mated twice a year. Only a very small number of our vixens have shown such unusual behavior, and in 40 years, no offspring of an extraseasonal mating has survived to adulthood.
Nevertheless, the striking fact is that, to our knowledge, out-of-season mating has never been previously observed in foxes experiencing a natural photoperiod.
Forty years into our unique lifelong experiment, we believe that Dmitry Belyaev would be pleased with its progress. By intense selective breeding, we have compressed into a few decades an ancient process that originally unfolded over thousands of years. Before our eyes, "the Beast" has turned into "Beauty," as the aggressive behavior of our herd's wild progenitors entirely disappeared. We have watched new morphological traits emerge, a process previously known only from archaeological evidence. Now we know that these changes can burst into a population early in domestication, triggered by the stresses of captivity, and that many of them result from changes in the timing of developmental processes. In some cases the changes in timing, such as earlier sexual maturity or retarded growth of somatic characters, resemble pedomorphosis.
Some long-standing puzzles remain. We believed at the start that foxes could be made to reproduce twice a year and all year round, like dogs. We would like to understand why this has turned out not to be quite so. We are also curious about how the vocal repertoire of foxes changes under domestication. Some of the calls of our adult foxes resemble those of dogs and, like those of dogs, appear to be holdovers from puppyhood, but only further study will reveal the details.
The biggest unanswered question is just how much further our selective-breeding experiment can go. The domestic fox is not a domestic dog, but we believe that it has the genetic potential to become more and more doglike. We can continue to increase that potential through further breeding, but the foxes will realize it fully only through close contact with human beings. Over the years, other investigators and I have raised several fox pups in domestic conditions, either in the laboratory or at home as pets. They have shown themselves to be good-tempered creatures, as devoted as dogs but as independent as cats, capable of forming deep-rooted pair bond's with human beings-mutual bonds, as those of us who work with them know. If our experiment should continue, and if fox pups could be raised and trained the way dog puppies are now, there is no telling what sort of animal they might one day become.
Whether that will happen remains to be seen. For the first time in 40 years, the future of our domestication experiment is in doubt, jeopardized by the continuing crisis of the Russian economy. In 1996 the population of our breeding herd stood at 700. Last year, with no funds to feed the foxes or to pay the salaries of our staff, we had to cut the number to 100. Earlier we were able to cover most of our expenses by selling the pelts of the foxes culled from the breeding herd. Now that source of revenue has all but dried up, leaving us increasingly dependent on outside funding at a time when shrinking budgets and changes in the grant-awarding system in Russia are making long-term experiments such as ours harder and harder to sustain. Like many other enterprises in our country, we are becoming more entrepreneurial. Recently we have sold some of our foxes to Scandinavian fur breeders, who have been pressured by animal-rights groups to develop animals that do not suffer stress in captivity. We also plan to market pups as house pets, a commercial venture that should lead to some interesting, if informal, experiments in its own right. Many avenues of both applied and basic research remain for us to pursue, provided we save our unique fox population.
Lyudmila N. Trut is head of the research group at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Novosibirsk. She received her doctoral degree in 1980. Her current research interests are the patterns of evolutionary transformations at the early steps of animal domestication. Her research group is developing the problem of domestication as an evolutionary event with the use of experimental models, including the silver fox, the American mink, the river otter and the wild gray rat.
For more information contact:
Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences
630090 Novosibirsk 90, Russia.
This article was taken from:
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Phone: (919) 549-0097
The main points for the skimmers amongst us:
The selection of individuals for a single trait (tameness) that
has consequent other effects.
The changes in physical features along side this.
*This is perhaps the most profund part* The rapid change in behaviour at what can only be the geneticly controled level.
Now any countryman will tell you you cannot domesticate a fox but this long term experiment shows that a strain of foxes can be domesticated by applying the right selection pressure. This gives fundemental changes in the foxes behaviour and physical charcteristics in a relatively few generations.
This demonstrates part of the evolutionary process namely; The mechanics of selection and how a single pressure can have a multiple (polygenetic) effect.
This is perhaps lot more important than some may realise.
Not speciation btw but perhaps part of the that pocess.
(following silly stuff left intact)
'Religion is the emulation of the adult by the child. Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is "Thou shalt not question!" But we question. We break that commandment as a matter of course. The work to which we have set ourselves is the liberating of the imagination, the harnessing of imagination to humankind's deepest sense of creativity.' Frank Herbert.
No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Free Republic; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: breeding; crevolist; evolution; fox; lysenkoism; russian
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You obviously have no concept of what you think you're talking about. You probably got some second hand knowledge an half understood that. A fish can still be a fish and evolve into another fish. Evolution does not necessitate the changing or crossing of Kingdoms...but then again, you probably don't understand what I'm saying.
posted on 12/19/2002 6:38:52 AM PST
You probably missed quarks, atoms, tidal forces, asteroids, gravity and oxygen exchange too...not to mention DNA splicing, nuclear radiation and a the earth rotating around the sun, doesn't make that wrong, does it?
No I didn't miss any of it, but don't muddy the waters, Mr. Science.
You show me in Genesis where it says God raised us up from Chimps.
Here I'll help you out.......Gen. 2:7And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Like I said, I missed the part about the chimps.
Evolution does not necessitate the changing or crossing of Kingdoms...
Oh really...how did we get here then?
You understand, don't you Stavka, that the changes in the foxes and fish were all caused by a higher intelligence(in this case, man)?
I'm still waiting for chimps to become human.
I mean their SO close to us....our cousins in fact.
To: gore3000; js1138
In fact the high adaptability and plasticity of species disproves evolution - species do not have to mutate to adapt, they already have the genes within them to adapt to different situations and environments.
Thank you, gore3000. I did read the article, and it seems to me that if some form form of putative evolution had actually taken place, what logically has occurred has been only adaptation (as evidenced by the survival) of the organism, the foxes, which is solely an inherent characteristic, or capability, of the genome, not a selection action of the environment or scientists' conditions, or anything else yet understood by science. "Natural Selection" is an EFFECT, not a cause, which applies of all organisms, even those that that go extinct, so how could natural selection (or any other type of selection, for that matter) be the cause of evolution?
posted on 12/19/2002 11:53:29 AM PST
A whale is still a whale and a chimp is still a chimp.
In order for evolution to work, the whale needs to turn into something else. And the chimp needs to turn into something else.
Give it a few million years, If they don't go extinct first they might.
A goldfish is still a fish, and a carp is still a fish.
Sorry, no evolution here.
And a chimp is still a primate and a man is still a primate.
I would bet the amount of genetic differences between a goldfish and a carp are similar to the differences between a chimp and man. So without a doubt if Goldfish can evole from a carp, Man can come from chimps. Actually man and chimps came from the same ancestor.
Goldfish broke off from there ancestor ~1000 years ago man broke away from chimps about 2 million. Both very short times compared to the 5 billion years since earth formed.
Again if you can get that many differences over that short of time, Over much longer periods of time we can get all the differences we see in the species today. If man continues to play with goldfish for the next 10000 years (still a very short time in the scheme of things)they will probably get something that you would be able to say it really isn't a fish anymore.
posted on 12/19/2002 1:15:56 PM PST
And a placemarker for me as well.
Thanks. Another problem with the theory of evolution is the time frame. Most environmental changes occur pretty fast, there is no time for mutations (as is the case here) to change the species to adapt them to a new environment. Therefore most of the adaptations which species achieve to survive are already in their genetic code. A good example of this is the famous Darwin finches. Depending on the amount of rainfall their beaks grow larger or smaller. This goes on back and forth with the rains. Clearly this is due to inherent abilities within their genome not to back and forth mutations within a few years.
Clearly this is due to inherent abilities within their genome not to back and forth mutations within a few years.
It is also quite clear that this inherent variability in the genome cannot be due to slow accumulation of neutral mutations spread by sexual reproduction. Who was it again who demonstrated that a mutation must happen at the exact time it is needed in order for it to work? I forget her name...
To: Ookie Wonderslug
I wonder what would happen if they bred chimpanzees for intelligence and manual dexterity? How long would it take before we could make a viable slave? We could add a few human genes so they could speak too.
Actually, chimps and humans share 98% or 99% (I don't remember exactly) genetic identity, meaning that only 1% or 2% of our genes are different. Meaning that, if the idea weren't so disgusting, it could be possible to create a hybrid offspring. Sick ideas aside, it is amazing what a big difference a tiny change in the genome makes.
To: null and void
Wonderful little story about the first woman. Only thing is, all of the changes described would have taken place over many generations, and in a whole population, rather than all at once in a single individual.
To: Ookie Wonderslug
We have a layer of blubber, downturned noses, short hair, can voluntarily hold our breath, webbed fingers and toes.
Speak for yourself. My fingers and toes are all nicely separated, as are those of everyone I know.
Only if "we" are selecting from a pallet of exisiting genes. A single mutation in a key gene could start the ball rolling. See the post above about the Rex cat.
Rex cat is at post #130...
Okay, I'm not sure why the little impromptu lesson in zoology (at least, that's the kind of stuff I studied in that class, many long moons ago). Perhaps you can enlighten me about something. Way back in that zoology class, I learned something like kingdom, order, phylum, class, genus, family, species, so the full scientific name of an organism should have seven parts. But these days, when I do a Genbank search, I often see 11, 12, or 13 terms in what seems to be the species description. Have more levels been added to the classification system?
Americans + domestic foxes = piles of rubles.
Unfortunately, and I have this information directly from a young Russian, rubles aren't worth squat. I think the Russians would rather have the dollars.
That's good. We have dollars...
You show me in Genisis where there is continental drift or dinasaurs or extinction...but those are just details, so lets listen to what the two main branchs of Christianity have to say on this:
I might begin by stating that, if by evolution one is referring to the theories and teachings of Charles Darwin, the Orthodox Church surely does not subscribe to evolution in any manner. Orthodoxy firmly believes that God is the Creator of all things and that human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, are unique among all created beings. At the same time Orthodoxy is not literalist in its understanding of the accounts of creation in Genesis, and I have encountered writings by Orthodox Christians which attempt to balance the creation accounts with a certain ongoing -- evolutionary, if you will -- process which, on the one hand, affirms that while humans may have evolved physically under the direction and guidance and plan of the Creator, their souls could not have evolved any more than the powers of reasoning, speaking, or the ability to act creatively could have simply evolved. In such a scenario the Creator intervened by breathing His Spirit into man and giving him life, as stated in Genesis. Such thinking, however, while admitting the possibility that the Creator guided a process of physical evolution, is not identical with the theories of Charles Darwin, which in my limited understanding implies that man's soul also evolved and denies the active participation on the part of the Creator. This poses a variety of questions and problems beyond the scope of your original question.
In short, then, Orthodoxy absolutely affirms that God is the Creator and Author of all things, that He is actively engaged with His creation, and that He desires to restore His creation to full communion with Himself through the saving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This, unlike Darwinism, is not a matter of ideology but, rather, a matter of theology.
Orthodoxy has no problem with evolution as a scientific theory, only with evolution -- as some people may view it -- eliminating the need for God as Creator of All.
So in otherwords...God could have easily created evolution...imagine that, being all powerful and all.
And here is what the Catholic Church has to say on it:
The Pope's Statement
On October 23, 1996, John Paul II sent a message to members of the Pontifical Academy of Science meeting in plenary assembly (see next pages for the complete text).
It is clear to anyone who reads the Pope's message in its entirety that he is proposing a restatement of the doctrine of evolution expressed in Pope Pius XII's encyclical Humani Generis. The only new element is the acknowledgment that the theory of evolution, which for Pius XII had been only a "serious hypothesis, worthy of further research and reflection (along with research and reflection on opposing theories)," has received considerable support from scientific findings during the 50 years since Pius wrote.
On the other hand, the Pope does not affirm that evolution has become a certain, demonstrable doctrine. In the Holy Father's own words: "Rather than speaking of the theory of evolution, we should speak of (various) theories of evolution," since there does not seem to be unanimity among scientists.
The Pope, of course, does not express a definitive judgment on the scientific debate. He does, however, reassert the Church's competence to assess the theological and philosophical repercussions of evolutionary theories. The Church thus excludes, as Pius XII stated, "purely materialist or reductive analyses," which leave no room for spiritual interpretations. John Paul II reaffirmed this essential emphasis: "Even if the human body originates from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is spontaneously created by God."
In his message, John Paul II never even pronounced Charles Darwin's name. Thus it seems clear that the mass media gave their own "spin" to the Pope's words, in some cases gravely distorting his actual meaning.
Man's True Origins
To investigate what the Church really understands by the term "evolution," we interviewed Father Vittorio Marcozzi, Vatican specialist on anthropological studies.
Marcozzi was an advisor to three Popes and an expert at the Second Vatican Council on questions related to creation and evolution. He is well known for his rigorous research and balanced appraisals; his books on the subject have been translated into many languages and distributed worldwide. Recently, in spite of his advanced age of 88 years, Marcozzi was summoned by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to debate with eminent scientists who have written on evolution and creation.
"I agree with Cardinal Ratzinger that we cannot speak of creation versus evolution, but rather of creation and evolution," Marcozzi told Inside the Vatican. "To admit evolution does not necessarily signify denying God's intervention. There are at least three 'moments' when divine intervention is necessary and evident: the appearance of life, that is of the first living organisms; the evolutionary possibilities with which God imbues these organisms; and, finally, the coming of man, whose spiritual qualities implicate God's special intervention."
But you fundies seem to have everything all figured out on your own, most of the time without even a good education.
Oh, and here's something from Saint Augustine that should blow your mind in the opposite direction:
"How did these secular beliefs affect Augustine's view of the six creation days? In the words of Louis Berkhof, Augustine "was evidently inclined to think God created all things in a moment of time, and that the thought of days was simply introduced to aid the finite intelligence."8 Looking at Augustine's own words, taken from his Genesis commentary, we read, "In this narrative of creation Holy Scripture has said of the Creator that He completed His works in six days, and elsewhere, without contradicting this, it has been written of the same Creator that He created all things together . . . Why then was there any need for six distinct days to be set forth in the narrative one after the other? The reason is that those who cannot understand the meaning of the text, He created all things together, cannot understand the meaning of the Scripture unless the narrative proceeds slowly step by step . . . For this Scripture text that narrates the works of God according to the days mentioned above, and that Scripture text that says God created all things together, are both true."9 "
posted on 12/19/2002 11:13:19 PM PST
Because natural selection, through the effects of the environment: be it nature, natural catastrophies, man or preditor/prey relationships, selects for only specific genes that allow for survival. If a mutation allows for better survival, then only those with the mutation will proceed and will be able to breed. This does not necessarly mean the old species dies out, since the effect might only be placed on only a fraction of the population in a specific setting. Also, subspecies creation is also evolution.
posted on 12/19/2002 11:21:44 PM PST
Wouldn't that all be called creation/science then if God did it?
Wouldn't that be like changing your name to mayflower because they shipped your furniture across the country?
No, because Creationalism believes in instantaneous creation, according to a literal transaltion of the beginning of Genesis. Evolution is still evolution, but as dictated by an outside force, aka: GOD.
posted on 12/19/2002 11:41:18 PM PST
If you're born natural or caesarean do you name the baby after the doctor or the parents?
need some help...
natural child birth---parents...
You are avoiding the issue and trying to do circular logic to justify your view of creationalism...which is unscientific to the extreme. The fact that God created Evolution as everything else does not justify creationalism...which believes in poof and everything was there, as we see it. It's the 5 year old, how babies are made, answer parents give to kids to young to understand reality.
posted on 12/20/2002 12:05:04 AM PST
Multi philosophical people like you---
need to learn how to designate authority to attain consistency and logic...
unless you shoot/miss from the hip on the run all the time---
if you're only planning on going in cicles that's ok...
just to prove a silly irrational run-on-process too!
The shadow(evolution/ego) running from the Truth/sanity---light!
What ever, keep rambling.
posted on 12/20/2002 12:52:50 AM PST
Main Entry: ob·fus·cate
Pronunciation: 'äb-f&-"skAt; äb-'f&s-"kAt, &b-
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing
Etymology: Late Latin obfuscatus, past participle of obfuscare, from Latin ob- in the way + fuscus dark brown -- more at OB-, DUSK
1 a : DARKEN b : to make obscure
2 : CONFUSE
- ob·fus·ca·tion /"äb-(")f&s-'kA-sh&n/ noun
- ob·fus·ca·to·ry /äb-'f&s-k&-"tOr-E, &b-, -"tor-/ adjective
Comment #178 Removed by Moderator
To: Stavka2; gore3000
Because natural selection, through the effects of the environment: be it nature, natural catastrophies, man or preditor/prey relationships, selects for only specific genes that allow for survival.
Thanks for your reply, Stavka2. Let me rephrase my question. Since natural selection is an effect of some as-yet unexplained process, as opposed to a cause of anything, what exactly is it in your terms that is doing the 'selecting' of only specific genes that allow for survival?
posted on 12/20/2002 8:12:37 AM PST
How else would people with juvenile diabetes live long enough to pass on their genes???
To: null and void
Evolution is the perpetual denial of reality/truth...
and the assertion of a crony coolie intellectual science---
on no wheels---
"In order for evolution to work, the whale needs to turn into something else. And the chimp needs to turn into something else.
Give it a few million years, If they don't go extinct first they might."
Yes, there are many people who have faith that your comment is true. Others of us have faith in Someone else entirely. :)
posted on 12/20/2002 8:50:30 AM PST
If this goes on, in a hundred generations, humans will be obligate citizens, incapable of surviving in the wild without advanced medical care.
Revolt and die.
I think that's a different species than the current crop, adapted to a different environment.
Denying adaptation is denying reality/truth...
If you believe in God, I'm sure you would concur that He could 'poof' everything in to existence if He chose to. Right? (I'm not asking you to agree that He did, just that He could.)
posted on 12/20/2002 8:58:20 AM PST
To: Ookie Wonderslug
Oh come on, you call that webbing? That's a pretty far stretch there, kiddo. Better hang on to something so you don't fall of that evolutionary tree.
posted on 12/20/2002 9:03:09 AM PST
To: null and void
If the Christ of God, in His sorrowful life below, be but a specimen of suffering humanity, or a model of patient calmness under wrong, not one of these things is manifested or secured. He is but one fragment more of a confused and disordered world, where everything has broken loose from its anchorage, and each is dashing against the other in unmanageable chaos, without any prospect of a holy or tranquil issue. He is an example of the complete triumph of evil over goodness, of wrong over right, of Satan over God,-one from whose history we can draw only this terrific conclusion, that God has lost the control of His own world; that sin has become too great a power for God either to regulate or extirpate; that the utmost that God can do is to produce a rare example of suffering holiness, which He allows the world to tread upon without being able effectually to interfere; that righteousness, after ages of buffeting and scorn, must retire from the field in utter helplessness, and permit the unchecked reign of evil. If the cross be the mere exhibition of self-sacrifice and patient meekness, then the hope of the world is gone. We had always thought that there was a potent purpose of God at work in connection with the sin- bearing work of the holy Sufferer, which, allowing sin for a season to develop itself, was preparing and evolving a power which would utterly overthrow it, and sweep earth clean of evil, moral and physical.
But if the crucified Christ be the mere self-denying man, we have nothing more at work for the overthrow of evil than has again and again been witnessed, when some hero or martyr rose above the level of his age to protest against evils which he could not eradicate, and to bear witness in life and death for truth and righteousness,-in vain... (not
...moral and physical"...
Evolution is hearing voice science...way out there!
And nother placemarker for me
Comment #189 Removed by Moderator
1. Do you or do you not agree that animals can adapt to a new environment?
2. Do you or do you not agree that animals that have a better suite of genes for a new environment are more likely to live long enough to pass them on to their decendants?
3. Do you or do you not agree that animals that have a worse suite of genes for a new environment are less likely to live long enough to pass them on to their decendants?
Note: These three questions do not require any reference to the existence of God, Christ, Allah, Buddha, Darwin, Krishna, Marx, shmoos, fairies, imps, democrats, or any other outside author or authority, real, imagined, or inconceivable. Just answer the questions. Is change possible? Does it make a survival difference what genes you bring to the party?
A normal human could answer with three words. Pick one from each set of two:
I'm not asking WHY you agree or disagree with any of the statements, just WHETHER you do or not.
To: null and void
Triva games/tricks won't prove evolution...you're on a reality lapse/break---start thinking!
To: null and void
Main Entry: suite
Pronunciation: 'swEt, 2d is also 'süt
Etymology: French, alteration of Old French siute -- more at SUIT
1 : RETINUE; especially : the personal staff accompanying a ruler, diplomat, or dignitary on official business
2 : a group of things forming a unit or constituting a collection : SET: as a : a group of rooms occupied as a unit b (1) : a 17th and 18th century instrumental musical form consisting of a series of dances in the same or related keys (2) : a modern instrumental composition in several movements of different character (3) : a long orchestral concert arrangement in suite form of material drawn from a longer work (as a ballet) c : a collection of minerals or rocks having some characteristic in common (as type or origin) d : a set of matched furniture
Are you genuinely incapable of a straight answer to a straight question?
To: null and void
a group of things forming a unit or constituting a collection
as in a group or collection of genes.
I'll take this as an answer to my previous question. You really can't answer a simple question.
To: null and void
There's nothing straight about an evolutionist...straight to---HELL/lies!
To: null and void
How sad you can't have an intelligent thought--question--philosophy...life too?
Answer the three questions. Three words. You just can't do it can you?...
How sad that you can parrot a book, be it a Bible or dictionary, but can't divine an answer to a question...
There's nothing straight about an evolutionist...straight to---HELL/lies!
Ummm, this is a self contradictory sentence, isn't it?
To: null and void
Do you need assurance...some kind of personal help?
Part of Speech noun
Definition 1. several things that collectively form a set or series.
Example a suite of bedroom furniture ; a suite of lively dances.
Crossref. Syn. serve , set
Definition 2. several adjacent rooms forming a unit, as at a hotel.
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