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Author Topic:   Evolving door.
2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 4238 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 1 of 17 (307819)
04-29-2006 9:32 PM


Considering that we are limited to are ability to observe. Has anyone ever considered ...other than microbal or fungal....that new animal or plant species may be emerging as we speak. The thoery of evolution is wonderful and all but can we say this has not or does not happen? We may never stop discovering new species.
In this line of thinking has anyone ever considered that there may be an average general rate of evolution based on the level of complexity of the specie evolving. Environmental factors are an obvious push but does a less complex organism have a better chance of adapting than a more complex one? Is biological complexity itself an advantage or disadvantage? Of course the question of how complex something is, must be strickly biological. No tooting our own horn...we are too full of ourselves. lol

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Message 2 of 17 (307869)
04-30-2006 8:24 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 3 of 17 (307874)
04-30-2006 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-29-2006 9:32 PM


In this line of thinking has anyone ever considered that there may be an average general rate of evolution based on the level of complexity of the specie evolving

Molecular biology has considered this. I believe it has been confirmed that there is a different rate of evolution for vertebrates than invertebrates.

Environmental factors are an obvious push but does a less complex organism have a better chance of adapting than a more complex one?

What really matters is diversity. If there are a lot of different alleles in the population, the more chance the population has to adapt to changing environment. Sexual reproduction spreads genes around significantly, so sexual reproduction might be a characterstic for a fast evolving organism.

Is biological complexity itself an advantage or disadvantage?

Biological complexity isn't really a characteristic unfortunately, as you have anticipated. The merit a set of genes has for building a machine slightly more advanced than its rivals is that gene may be able to take advantage of a niche that is unoccupied, which means those genes are free to replicate with no competition (short term). We have to look at these things as short term goals...to reproduce successfully. So, in the short term, complexity is advantageous. However, like any arms race, it may well have been more efficient had the escalation never happened and everything just remained single-celled.

Its just that once single-celled organisms began cooperating with one another in a 'complex' manner they had such a short term advantage over their uncooperative rivals that they were able to reproduce more often/more easily/etc.

As Einstein is credited with saying:

quote:
"I don't know what weapons World War Three will be fought with, but World War four will be fought with sticks and stones."

Sticks and stones are not complex, but they have an advantage in that they are simpler and everyone can use them. However, the moment arrives when someone sharpens his stick and then someone else sticks a pointy rock on the end, later someone shrinks the stick and fires from a bow...you know the rest. When the competition gets more advanced you escalate or die. Its tragically doomed to failure, but there you go.


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2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 4238 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 4 of 17 (307923)
04-30-2006 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Modulous
04-30-2006 8:49 AM


What really matters is diversity. If there are a lot of different alleles in the population, the more chance the population has to adapt to changing environment. Sexual reproduction spreads genes around significantly, so sexual reproduction might be a characterstic for a fast evolving organism.

I am asuming alleles evolve. New alleles must emerge correct? If so what effects the rate of devergence. What effects which new ones will emerge and thier purpose? There must be some governing factor or life would develope into the equivalent of an abstract art painting no?
So weather or not a species will have adaptability at this time appears to be a crap shoot. Or do species possess as a whole, all the genetic blueprints they will ever have and it appears they become active or dormant depending on stimulation?
I have looked on the web from time to time but seldom see direct questions like this addressed. If I do run across something I might not recognise it for what it is.

Biological complexity isn't really a characteristic unfortunately, as you have anticipated. The merit a set of genes has for building a machine slightly more advanced than its rivals is that gene may be able to take advantage of a niche that is unoccupied, which means those genes are free to replicate with no competition (short term). We have to look at these things as short term goals...to reproduce successfully. So, in the short term, complexity is advantageous. However, like any arms race, it may well have been more efficient had the escalation never happened and everything just remained single-celled.

Has anyone hypothesized why life took a general move toward the more complex in the first place? Then one could think of insects and animals as just a macro of single cells. We have membrains and cilia of a fashion and our insides are divided into differnt parts that work together as a whole. So in your line of thinking we are likely a short lived phenomenon in the big biological picture? We are quite young as species go. The anology I have heard before is that if the evolution of life on earth were represented as a calender year. Man would show up during the last second of the last day in the year. Perhaps like the exotic elememt that exhibits amazing properties but decays most rapidly. Are we but a brain fart in the biological bowel movement? lol


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jar
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Posts: 32032
From: Texas!!
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Member Rating: 2.2


Message 5 of 17 (307929)
04-30-2006 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-30-2006 1:41 PM


Has anyone hypothesized why life took a general move toward the more complex in the first place?

Because there was no other option. When you begin with the simplest there is no way to evolve simpler. How do you evolve something simpler than a single cell organism?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 6 of 17 (307959)
04-30-2006 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-30-2006 1:41 PM


I am asuming alleles evolve. New alleles must emerge correct? If so what effects the rate of devergence. What effects which new ones will emerge and thier purpose? There must be some governing factor or life would develope into the equivalent of an abstract art painting no?

Without a governing factor, you are right. The governing factor is natural selection. The new effects are ones which provide a positive effect on reproductive success.

Has anyone hypothesized why life took a general move toward the more complex in the first place?

Yes, the simplest way to see it is as an arms race as I described.

hen one could think of insects and animals as just a macro of single cells. We have membrains and cilia of a fashion and our insides are divided into differnt parts that work together as a whole. So in your line of thinking we are likely a short lived phenomenon in the big biological picture?

If you mean 'we' as in me and you, then yes. In a sense we are temporary vehicles built by a molecule with the purpose of making copies of our genes (or not, and have our genes selected against).


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RAZD
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Message 7 of 17 (307961)
04-30-2006 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
04-30-2006 1:51 PM


Which does not prevent life forms from simplifying from more complex forms once they have evolved. You should see a distribution of simpler and more complex around any point-time sample average.

This gets into the issue of what is simple and what is complex...


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2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 4238 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 8 of 17 (307967)
04-30-2006 3:35 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Modulous
04-30-2006 2:52 PM


Without a governing factor, you are right. The governing factor is natural selection. The new effects are ones which provide a positive effect on reproductive success.

Natural selection has yet to be properly defined let alone fully understood by us. It is a very general idea that I can generally accept.
As far as we are able to assertain..is natures bag of genetic tricks finite or does it also evolve? So the thinking is that nature evolves random instructions....many that are not useful and some just happen to be? There seems to be something lacking in any conclusions drawn. The fact that it all works when thinking of it in those terms makes it look like a trillion to one shot. Has anyone ever done a statistical analysis of the evolution of the genetic code in relation to life's viability?
So many questions a guy could piss away his life just asking let alone looking...lol Ah...the spring opener of fishing....time to do something constructive for the...soul? lol


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 9 of 17 (307983)
04-30-2006 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-30-2006 3:35 PM


natural selection
Natural selection has yet to be properly defined let alone fully understood by us.

Natural selection has been well defined for a long time. Darwin did an amazing job of discussing selection and the contrast of deliberate selection and non-delibirate selection (selection in nature, or natural selection). As long as there is differential reproductive success there is, by definition, natural selection.

So the thinking is that nature evolves random instructions....many that are not useful and some just happen to be?

Well, this is variation not natural selection. Once there are replicating instruction, then any variation that occurs during replication will either increase or decrease reproductive success (or neither).

The fact that it all works when thinking of it in those terms makes it look like a trillion to one shot. Has anyone ever done a statistical analysis of the evolution of the genetic code in relation to life's viability?

It seems unlikely that it would get to where we are becaues there are so many other ways it could have been. It is been shown that statistically unlikely events can be made more and more likely if a cumulative selection process is used. Natural selection is a very powerful cumlative selection process.


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2ice_baked_taters
Member (Idle past 4238 days)
Posts: 566
From: Boulder Junction WI.
Joined: 02-16-2006


Message 10 of 17 (308085)
04-30-2006 9:05 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Modulous
04-30-2006 4:41 PM


Re: natural selection
I just want to understand this as it is bandied about and seems to be discussed in a more general sense most times.

Natural selection has been well defined for a long time. Darwin did an amazing job of discussing selection and the contrast of deliberate selection and non-delibirate selection (selection in nature, or natural selection). As long as there is differential reproductive success there is, by definition, natural selection.

So natural selection puts all it's marbles on reproductive success? This is still a very generic understanding of a process. Factors in reproductive success could very widely. Can one say for sure that reproductive success is not the outcome of some other factors instead of reproduction allways being the definer?
A prefference in our case. If one does look at it soley from a reproductive standpoint then edjucation will likely lose out. Statistics show that the more edjucated you are....the less likely you are to have children. Natural selection favors the ignorant and the horny. Intelectuals are a dying breed? Become the recessive gene if you will.

This message has been edited by 2ice_baked_taters, 04-30-2006 09:07 PM


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anglagard
Member
Posts: 2207
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 11 of 17 (308100)
04-30-2006 10:18 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-30-2006 9:05 PM


Re: natural selection
If one does look at it soley from a reproductive standpoint then edjucation will likely lose out. Statistics show that the more edjucated you are....the less likely you are to have children. Natural selection favors the ignorant and the horny. Intelectuals are a dying breed? Become the recessive gene if you will.

Unless of course, ignorance is primarily a cultural, rather than genetic, phenomena.

This message has been edited by anglagard, 04-30-2006 10:20 PM


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 12 of 17 (308151)
05-01-2006 3:58 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-30-2006 9:05 PM


Re: natural selection
So natural selection puts all it's marbles on reproductive success?

Natural selection is basically defined as the differential reproductive success that occurs in nature. Its not a question of putting marbles anywhere, its just what it is, have you seen demonstrations on the power that differential reproductive success (ie cumulative selection) can have?

Factors in reproductive success could very widely.

Agreed, we'd expect to see a large array of solutions. We'd expect to see predators that are very good at killing to survive long enough to mate and we'd expect to see prey that are good at getting away long enough to mate.

. Can one say for sure that reproductive success is not the outcome of some other factors instead of reproduction allways being the definer?

Reproduction isn't the definer. Reproductive success, on average, is dependent on the way the genes cooperate to build a body that is capable of surviving long enough to reproduce. It is possible for differential reproductive success to stop in any given population. This would either be 'stasis' or 'extinction'.

. If one does look at it soley from a reproductive standpoint then edjucation will likely lose out. Statistics show that the more edjucated you are....the less likely you are to have children. Natural selection favors the ignorant and the horny. Intelectuals are a dying breed? Become the recessive gene if you will.

I've seen the same statistics. It depends on whether or not intellectualism is a genetic trait, or if it is a result of nurture. I think there is a significant evidence that it might be a bit of both, but with emphasis on the nurture. That said, nurture itself replicates with children learning from their parents perhaps learning new techniques. So in a way, yes, the ignorant and horny constitute a majority. I think this matches with observation doesn't it?


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EZscience
Member (Idle past 3541 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 13 of 17 (308200)
05-01-2006 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by 2ice_baked_taters
04-29-2006 9:32 PM


Complexity not always an advantage
2BT writes:

Environmental factors are an obvious push but does a less complex organism have a better chance of adapting than a more complex one?

The short answer is a qualified ‘yes’. The primary reason is that complex organisms tend to have longer generation times and generation time is one of the key factors limiting the rate of evolution. Shorter generation time means that faster evolution is possible (not inevitable). Another factor is that higher organismal complexity tend to be associated with more genetic constraints. The easiest anology here is the ‘58 Chevy compared to the modern computerized version. You could tinker around with the old one a lot more easily and take liberties modifying it without risking fatal damage to some critical system. Complexity always comes with a cost, e.g. a longer, more vulnerable developmental period.

2BT writes:

Is biological complexity itself an advantage or disadvantage?

This is entirely context-dependent. Obviously, complexity can confer many specific advantages in various contexts, but it carries with it specific constraints that tend to delimit or prevent alternative types of ‘complexity’. In other words, complexity can be a kind of an evolutionary rut. Especially when there is ecological co-evolution. Like the complexity of the orchid flower that perfectly mimics a female Euglossine bee in appearance, color and smell in order to get pollinated by the male bee. A highly efficient system to enlist specialized pollinators with a high degree of flower fidelity, but if that particular species of bee should go extinct, all the ‘complexity’ in the flower will be of no advantage whatsoever.


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EZscience
Member (Idle past 3541 days)
Posts: 961
From: A wheatfield in Kansas
Joined: 04-14-2005


Message 14 of 17 (308202)
05-01-2006 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Modulous
04-30-2006 8:49 AM


Mod writes:

Sexual reproduction spreads genes around significantly, so sexual reproduction might be a characterstic for a fast evolving organism.

You are careful with your choice of words (as always), so I can't really nail you here :) 'Might be'...in certain cases.

Sexual reproduction creates a 'gene pool' as opposed to a population comprised of many clonal lineages that never converge. However, it is a common misconception that sexual populations evolve faster than asexual populations as a rule. This is not so. While sexuality creates opportunities for new gene combinations that may facilitate evolutionary processes in some situations, asexual populations can also evolve at alarmingly rapid rates through simple process of mutation and clonal replacement.


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Modulous
Member (Idle past 491 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 15 of 17 (308205)
05-01-2006 11:11 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by EZscience
05-01-2006 10:55 AM


You are careful with your choice of words (as always), so I can't really nail you here :)

But not always with my typing :)

But yes, what you say is right. I was thinking of what you just said, but couldn't think of a good (and accurate) way of putting it. I was thinking more along the lines of 'macroevolution' (by habit, I'm so used to hearing 'but that's microevolution' that I err towards the 'big' changes subconsciously). Because of the way that these changes can spread around the population, I figured that sexual species have an advantage.

I was also thinking of generational time, rather than real time (ie, per generation rather than per year). Sexually reproducing species tend to have longer generational times, since they also tend to be larger. Anyway, I've started rambling: I agree.


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