Re: Flying snakes
The description of colour under water on organisms is a bit tricker than just discussing color as it appears to the “naked” eye. There have always been two ways of thinking about this to me. One is to follow Newton and try to see how organisms themselves act to either stop light or let it pass, making the body of life into the very experimental philosophy Newton fell to and the other is to try with Goethe to notice only the subjectivity involved and try to see if organism in all their color variations do not subsume the opposite color schemes that Goethe thought much about. Snakes use of yellow related to purple in the eye lens is a possible example of this less objective alternative.
Gould has adroitly situated this issue between orthogenesis and orthoselection as to which came first in pigeons, the bar or the checker board, but short of my last paragraph in this post I do not generally feel that there is a single top-down approach to all color variations. It is interesting that the explanation of colour differences AS camouflage really IS of this base generalization.
When I went to Africa in 86 I fully expected that “the jungle” would welcome me with all kinds of different forms and creatures but in truth the appearance of a place of very high diversity only had creatures with slightly more diffractive colors, irrespective of the clade. I had already noticed what you pointed out simply in tramping around New Jersey, that some creatures seemed to be quite noticeable and not very well camouflaged in their spectral dress.
Some of my surprise at this apparently extra coloration probably arose by my exploratory technique of NOT looking a ‘greens’ but I think that another aspect has to do with behavior which is not something that can be observed “on the first go” as occurs when the non-camouflage is seen.
Underwater things are a bit harder because one can not simply relate objectively the Newtonian position I dictated in the first paragraph above but one must include at least some translatory motion of the photons as well due to refraction while the body may let the light pass or was stopped. I might be tempted in the iconic “diamond” and “hear” below to consider the red in the two herps as possibly traceable to the same cause and the ‘greens’ therethrough explained but this would only work given the behavioral aspects of where the turtle head and the salamander body is relative to the surface.
Off the reefs things can be a bit more complicated. You have a lot of sharks there. Perhaps it could help to think of the dark and light above, down under there, as like what a frog would see with moving branches in the air. Also when it comes to schools, and there are more of them there than on land, some aspect of motion may be involved. Since it does take some color to CAUSE a shark to react it may be that some of the extra color is simply for the “purpose” of keeping up the momentum of the moving “dark” area by some kind of approximation to the inertia involved irrespective of the form of the digestive apparatus.
I do not know marine environments very well. But I am far from convinced that the “6 of clubs” has to be a derivate pattern from the “4 of clubs” BECAUSE it is a cameo hiding “under the skin” of some venomous attachment related to the “3 of clubs” (the difference of red touch yellow and the fellow where red touch black but Yellow in this case).
Alternatively herpetologists have supposed that the patterns and colors have to do with the speed of motion of the serpent. My very first “experiment” (in 6th grade) was to measure the speed of various local snakes in NJ, so when I read of this idea later I was unconvinced, based on the experience of observing different patterns move through a trench I had dug as well.
It does seem possible to me that while there may be particular aspects of camouflage causal with different skeins I do not see that it is the full cause and effect. In particular I do not see the argument that organismic selection is the external cause of all the differences. Wolfram clearly sees organic patterns otherwise. I do not go this far. I do suspect that there could be more than my quoted purpose here at work but I am not as certain about this as about what I have said above. In particular I do not know why some biophysicist has not tried to relate color traits in organisms to a CONTINUUM of flame spectra positions in atoms matching various monoplyletic lines and THEN following up on whether light was let passed or stopped. I guess the answer is that the internal channel I am proposing is no different for biology than Maxwell proposed for physics or Wright thought was going on with Guinea Pigs, thus it is too mundane to garner the attention it might deserve. When you asked me I realized I had not given actual thought to the issue (as to color) of OP’s
quote: but if it is not a matter of bars vs spots as Gould put it
using creatures who have specific parts designed "for the job."
but of color series let passed&stopped then inifity in the below may make sense and provide a means to accomplish the artifical selections beyond what the colour originally was there for.
“In physics, approximations of real numbers are used for continuous measurements and natural numbers are used for discrete measurements (i.e. counting). It is therefore assumed by physicists that no measurable quantity could have an infinite value, for instance by taking an infinite value in an extended real number system (see also: hyperreal number), or by requiring the counting of an infinite number of events.”
-Wiki on infinity-
This restriction on the use of infinity in physics does not preclude the use of the actual infinite in biology. It is possible that some measure of the phenotype-genotype strech/strecke being continuous by Hardy Weinberg Equilibria ( in the idealizing case) ARE real numbers but contain point sets topologically distributed by group selection are approximated by an infinte pure math set of real numbers arranged geometrically by replication during organic reproduction. As real numbers the ordinality of any monphyletic clade of them are finite just as an organism is finite and can die. The truth that there is some bridge between transient and immanent reality so duplicated only means that the architectonic horizon is updated not that logic is being slighted.
The extended real number system may be useful as one crosses to the non-mechanical aspects that may be associated among the difference of the cardinality and ordinality but the catastrophe so created is far from obviously only due to artifical selection while it might also result statistically from species extinctions. I leave this application for better economic times.
Edited by Brad McFall, : counter image
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