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Author Topic: Can we observe evolution?  (Read 4804 times)

Offline Woodchippings

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Can we observe evolution?
« on: 18/02/2006 19:09:03 »
Hi,

I'm trying to do some background research into evolution on a number of levels and I was wondering if you bright chaps and ladies might know of some classic or crafty examples of ongoing evolution both for humans, animals plants or whatever. The only ones that spring to mind are that classic moth population one around the time of all the smog in the UK and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. I've been reading some interesting bits and bobs about genes that have been found in hose deCODE studies in iceland suggesting fragments of DNA that seem to correlate with higher numbers of children so I'd be very interested to hear anything more like that.

While I'm on the subject I was also wondering if anyone new of particularly elegant examples of evolution solving design problems that might apply to our own engineers - eg wing tip design from birds, or cable design from spider silk.

I'll look forwrd to hearing any cunning plans.

Cheers

Nick




 

Offline Dr B

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #1 on: 18/02/2006 19:19:40 »
What about the evolution of HIV, influenza, super bugs ...

Dr B
Istanbul
 

another_someone

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #2 on: 18/02/2006 21:35:13 »
I was just listening to Science in Action on BBC World Service (yes, I know it's the competition, and I probably shouldn't be mentioning it here) last night, and there was mention both the evolutionary changes in leg length of the cane toad, as it was covering ever greater distances; and changes in the indigenousness species as they tried to adapt to the threat the cane toad provided them.

The other question is what are you looking for in terms of apparent evolution?

Clearly, the kind of things you are mentioning are subtle changes in the genome of individuals within a species, but does not evolution act upon the total population, rather than the individual?  As such, would not the replacement of red squirrels by grey squirrels be a manifestation of evolution; and more controversially, the replacement of various native human populations in various continents by incoming populations?

On a more historic note, is there not a correlation between incidence of thalassemia. and sickle cell anaemia in the human population and the level of malaria in the environment; since both diseases offer some protection to malaria.

I'm also sure there much be many manifestations of evolutionary change caused by climate change, though I cannot think of a specific example at present.
« Last Edit: 18/02/2006 21:39:53 by another_someone »
 

Offline Ray hinton

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #3 on: 19/02/2006 00:11:52 »
Evolution is going on all the time,all through the sixties there was a species quite different to other humans,i think it was called HOMO HIPPIUS WOODSTOCKII,then there was GLAM MAN in the 70s,and recently we have witnessed the rise of HOMO CHAVIUS,so you see evolution is happening right under our noses.  

RE-HAB IS FOR QUITTERS.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #4 on: 19/02/2006 00:32:24 »
Fewer & fewer humans are growing wisdom teeth. As our diet has changed, they've become redundant
 

Offline Ray hinton

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #5 on: 19/02/2006 01:31:02 »
or is it cos we are not as wise as we once were !!!!!!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #6 on: 19/02/2006 02:49:28 »
That would certainly be true in my case
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #7 on: 19/02/2006 04:14:35 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ray hinton

Evolution is going on all the time,all through the sixties there was a species quite different to other humans,i think it was called HOMO HIPPIUS WOODSTOCKII,then there was GLAM MAN in the 70s,and recently we have witnessed the rise of HOMO CHAVIUS,so you see evolution is happening right under our noses.  

RE-HAB IS FOR QUITTERS.




...and maybe inside your nose too ! :)

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!
 

Offline Ray hinton

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #8 on: 20/02/2006 01:33:36 »
no room, what with the bird of paradise and all !!!!???
 

Offline VAlibrarian

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #9 on: 20/02/2006 04:53:37 »
I think that Dr. B had it right when he said that influenza is a good example for evolution in action. Every year, the influenza virus evolves in response to our immune defenses. Every year, medical experts devise a new influenza vaccine to protect the elderly and those with weakened immune systems agains the most prevalent forms of influenza.
If you do not believe in the concept of evolution, well then please do not bother lining up a flu vaccine shot for your grandmama. It's obvious that without evolution, the only thing she would be needing is last year's flu shot.

chris wiegard
 

ROBERT

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #10 on: 20/02/2006 13:55:52 »
There are computer programmes which demonstrate evolution, such as "Biomorphs":-
http://www.freethoughtdebater.com/Alifebiomorphs.htm

Similar programmes are used in "Evolutionary Design":-
http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/staff/P.Bentley/wc3paper.html
 

Offline Woodchippings

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #11 on: 20/02/2006 16:59:20 »
Many thanks guys that's certainly some very useful info. I did a bit of digging myself this weekend and came across a couple of good examples - the thalasemia one does seem particularly interesting.

I guess climate change is likely to have a big impact on everything so if anyone has come across some crackers that would be great ( the rise and fall of the wolly mammouth springs to mind). I wonder how long it will be until we see the first confirmed cases of speciation due to global warming - new islands get formed etc?

Also "another someone", you're right about the moth's things come to think of it, that's just an example of selection pressures really so I guess squirrels are too. I've not really been too hot on keeping my definitions tight. With bacteria on the other hand you can develop new resistance mutations in in vitro situations can't you - not just horizontal transfer of availible resistance?

 

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Re: Can we observe evolution?
« Reply #11 on: 20/02/2006 16:59:20 »

 

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