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Author Topic:   evolutionary chain
Christian
Member (Idle past 4418 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 1 of 204 (255181)
10-27-2005 5:50 PM


I was wondering if anyone can give me an evolutionary chain of either fossils or living animals,or a mixture of the two, starting in one of the major types of animals and ending with another. For example, fish to amphibian or reptile to bird. I would like a list stating who evolved from whom with descriptions of each animal.
Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 10-27-2005 6:06 PM Christian has responded
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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 204 (255184)
10-27-2005 5:55 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
NosyNed
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Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 3 of 204 (255187)
10-27-2005 6:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Christian
10-27-2005 5:50 PM


Chains
Reptile to Mammal

Reptile to Bird

Amphibian to Reptile

That one says that there is no unambiguous chain of fossils between Amphibian and Reptile

Fish to Amphibian


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 Message 1 by Christian, posted 10-27-2005 5:50 PM Christian has responded

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Christian
Member (Idle past 4418 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 4 of 204 (255188)
10-27-2005 6:10 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
10-27-2005 6:06 PM


Re: Chains
Ned, for some reason I couldn't look at any of those, it said, file not found when I clicked on them. Am I doing something wrong?
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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6616
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 5 of 204 (255189)
10-27-2005 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Christian
10-27-2005 5:50 PM


Hello, Christian.

Probably one of the most complete chains (due to its being relatively recent) is the chain that links an ancient bipedal (yet chimpanzee-like) ape with modern humans:

You can find more about these ancient hominids on TalkOrigins and at this site.

Kathleen Hunt has written an essay describing the transitions seen in the fossil record for several major lineages. Furthermore, the descriptive articles at Palaeos also have some good information about the transitions (look at the cladograms; each entry on each cladogram is a known fossil species). Palaeos, though, can be a bit difficult to navigate if you aren't used to it.

Hope this helps.

Added by edit:
Oops. I just realized you asked for a chain of transitions between major groups. The human lineage I provided is within a relatively minor group. I hope the other links are helpful, though.

This message has been edited by Chiroptera, 27-Oct-2005 10:17 PM


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
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Christian
Member (Idle past 4418 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 6 of 204 (255200)
10-27-2005 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Chiroptera
10-27-2005 6:14 PM


quote:
The species here are listed roughly in order of appearance in the fossil record (note that this ordering is not meant to represent an evolutionary sequence)

I don't think this is what I was looking for. Did these guys evolve from each other?

This message has been edited by Christian, 10-28-2005 06:11 PM


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NosyNed
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Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 7 of 204 (255202)
10-27-2005 7:08 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Christian
10-27-2005 6:59 PM


Evolving from each other
I don't think this is what I was looking for. Did these guys evolve from each other?

Well, one thing you'd have to ask is; if not where did they come from.

Of course, it is not possible to say that any one individual is a direct descendant of any other.

I'm British by birth. If we found a skeleton in a 500 year old tomb in southern England could I say for sure he was a relative (all the records are long gone)? Can I say with reasonable certainty that I had a relative living around there at that time?

Why, exactly, isn't this what you were looking for? Exactly what are you looking for?

Given the real world why would you expect to find whatever it is you are looking for?


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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6616
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 8 of 204 (255206)
10-27-2005 7:23 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Christian
10-27-2005 6:59 PM


To add to what Ned says:

Given two species in the fossil record, it is generally impossible to tell whether one of the species evolved from the other. All we can generally do is notice that the two species are very closely related, and then conclude that the one with the more primitive characteristics is closely related to a common ancestor.

In the lineages that people have (fish to tetrapod, synapsid to mammal, Australopithecine to human) all we can do is notice that the species that are found make a nice series of transitions; the hominid species in my earlier post, for example, show a nice smooth gradual transition from ancient apes to modern humans -- the gaps are relatively small and it is easy to imagine how those gaps should be filled.

If one is looking for a series of definite ancestor species and descendent species, then one is going to be disappointed. It simply is not possible to distinguish ancestor/descendent species with species that are merely near relatives.


"Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism -- biblical literalism -- is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true." -- Katha Pollitt
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Coragyps
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Message 9 of 204 (255213)
10-27-2005 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Christian
10-27-2005 5:50 PM


You might check your local library for Jennifer Clack's book, Gaining Ground. Dr Clack will tell you right off what you've just been told here - that it is not typically possible to say "this fossil individual was a descendant of that other one right there." Then, she goes on to write 300 pages or so of very information-dense, heavily illustrated text about Devonian critters. She whups the reader nearly to death with cleithrums and clavicles and with skulls with their post-parietals and ectopterygoids and ethmosphenoids, and on and on. But she also shows, repeatedly, how smooth sorts of changes occur between different fossils, and that these changes occur with advancing time as well as with the change of critters to look less ans less "fishy" and more and more "salamandery" or at least amphibian.

No, there's not much "proof," but dear me, there sure are a boatload of fossils that would be pretty durn tricky to explain in any manner other than that Clack uses: descent with modification.


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Christian
Member (Idle past 4418 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 10 of 204 (255390)
10-28-2005 6:10 PM


I did a bit of reading on this site http://www.mnh.si.edu/anthro/humanorigins/ha/a_tree.html
and concluded that it is most likely not what I am looking for. Let me try to restate what I am looking for to avoid confusion: I would like a chain of animals starting in one major type and ending in another. I don't mean that I have to have definite ancestors. What I would like, however, is something plausible. As I was looking at that tree, there were several ape/man type creatures (apparently), but not a definite order by which they could've evolved. Here's a part of what I read that led me to believe that was not what I was looking for:
quote:
Many features of the cranium of A. africanus are more evolved than that of earlier A. afarensis. These features include a more globular cranium and slightly higher ratio of brain size to body size. Also the teeth and face appear less primitive. For years researchers considered the evolution of early humans to pass from A. afarensis to A. africanus and lead to early Homo.

However, some researchers now believe that facial features link A. africanus to the "robust" early human species of southern Africa, Paranthropus robustus. Known as anterior pillars, which are located on either side of the nose, these features are found in A. africanus and P. robustus, and not in the eastern African species. This implies that the designation of the genus Paranthropus may be incorrect.

As if to confuse the issue even more, recent comparative studies of the postcranial fossils of A. afarensis and A. africanus have placed a whole new unknown into the question. Evidently, the proportion of arm to leg lengths was more ape-like in A. africanus than in A. afarensis. This confuses the phylogeny of early humans because of the discovery of the OH 62 fossil, and the post-cranial paradox it has posed. As a result, some researchers are once again pointing to A. africanus as a possible ancestor of early Homo.

In all, A. africanus is an enigma to paleoanthropology. Researchers are still unsure about where A. africanus came from and which species, if any, it led to. It can safely be said that to figure out A. africanus would lead to a great clarification of our early evolutionary history.



Maybe I should narrow things a bit more. What if we start with any type of animal with a distinguishing characteristic, and then move backward to show what their ancestor without that characteristic could've been? some possabilities might be the jumping aparatus of the click beetle, the spinneret and male copulating organ of spiders, the wing of a bat, the neck of the giraffe, the male reproductive organs of the dragonfly, the mammary glands or four-chambered heart of mammals, the shells on turtles, etc. Start with any one of these (or come up with another one) and tell me who their most recent ancester was (or could have been) which did not have the distinguishing characteristic.
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Christian
Member (Idle past 4418 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 11 of 204 (255391)
10-28-2005 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Coragyps
10-27-2005 8:03 PM


Thanks, I'll look for that book.
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NosyNed
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Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 12 of 204 (255395)
10-28-2005 6:43 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Christian
10-28-2005 6:10 PM


Useful Chain
What I would like, however, is something plausible. As I was looking at that tree, there were several ape/man type creatures (apparently), but not a definite order by which they could've evolved. Here's a part of what I read that led me to believe that was not what I was looking for:

You're more detailed steps might be useful. However, I find it surprising that you aren't happy with the Homonidae chain.

Over 6 million years one can expect a lot of complexity in the evolution of a lineage. Don't let the details of the twigs of the trees bother you. Look at the overall picture.

There is strong trend marked out by those fossils. Follow it from one side to the other. That, set in the context of other evidence should be somewhat meaningful.

You were given links to a number of other series. What didn't you like about them?


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 204 (255409)
10-28-2005 8:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Christian
10-27-2005 5:50 PM


For example, fish to amphibian or reptile to bird. I would like a list stating who evolved from whom with descriptions of each animal.

There's not really such a taxon as "reptile", you should know. What you think of as "reptiles" is actually three different groups of living and extinct organisms, one of which includes dinosaurs, modern birds, and snakes, lizards, and other scaly ectotherms; one that includes mammals and some extinct fin-backed creatures; and one that's basically turtles. (Animal Diversity, 2nd Ed, Hickman, Roberts, and Larson, 2000.)

Evolution gives rise to trees, not chains. Thinking of organisms in terms of chains of development is of fairly limited use. You wouldn't bother to think of your own ancestry in terms of a "family chain" leading from some arbitrary great-great-grandparent down to you; it's much more useful to consider your family as a tree, because it connects you to your cousins and uncles, as well as your direct ancestors.


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RAZD
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Posts: 19865
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Member Rating: 5.6


Message 14 of 204 (255433)
10-28-2005 10:21 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Christian
10-28-2005 6:10 PM


and concluded that it is most likely not what I am looking for.

What if we start with any type of animal with a distinguishing characteristic, and then move backward to show what their ancestor without that characteristic could've been?

Try this one Christian:

Therapsid fossils - reptile to mammal jaw transitions (click) - complete with an intermediate stage where the critter had two jaw joints:

Probainognathus possessed characteristics of both reptile and mammal, and this transitional aspect was shown most clearly by the fact that it had TWO jaw joints--one reptilian, one mammalian

And then the development of the mammal ear bones from the previous reptile jaw bones.

Enjoy.


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Christian
Member (Idle past 4418 days)
Posts: 157
Joined: 10-16-2005


Message 15 of 204 (255856)
10-31-2005 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by RAZD
10-28-2005 10:21 PM


This looks pretty interesting. I read most of it, but as I'm short on time and it is rather long, maybe you can answer this question for me. could these animals actually have evolved from each other? If so, could you give me the chain of actual animals that could've evolved from each other, starting with an animal with the reptile jaw and ending with an animal with the mammal jaw?
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