Evolution 101- part 15: Co-Evolution and Fish Repair

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (with a low tonight of Evolution 92, and tomorrow a high of Evolution 105 with gusts of Empiricism out of the east) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

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Coevolution: The term coevolution is used to describe cases where two (or more) species reciprocally affect each other’s evolution. So for example, an evolutionary change in the morphology of a plant, might affect the morphology of an herbivore that eats the plant, which in turn might affect the evolution of the plant, which might affect the evolution of the herbivore…and so on.

This would make sense if there was any reason to believe evolution was happening in the first place. So far we have seen none, so providing a scenario where competition or mutual benefit might provide ever changing conditions for natural selection to act in becomes a mental exercise, but still completely unrealistic. For this to matter to the over all scheme of evolution, they need a mechanism by which information is ADDED to the genomes of both species, making it at least twice as unlikely to happen by mutation and other previously discussed mechanisms. If you tear pages out of Green Eggs and Ham AND Peter Rabbit, you will not end up with Lord of the Rings AND The Hobbit. You need some method of adding HUGE amounts of information which, in this case, now relates to the information being added to another volume. Read more of this post

Evolution 101- part 13: Peacocks and Perverts

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (Celebrating Christmas by cursing the Virgin Mary since 1998) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

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What about fitness?

Hey! I did pushups AND sit ups yesterday. 12 of EACH!

Biologists use the word fitness to describe how good a particular genotype is at leaving offspring in the next generation relative to how good other genotypes are at it. So if brown beetles consistently leave more offspring than green beetles because of their color, you’d say that the brown beetles had a higher fitness.

 fitbeetles
The brown beetles have a greater fitness relative to the green beetles.

Of course, fitness is a relative thing. A genotype’s fitness depends on the environment in which the organism lives. The fittest genotype during an ice age, for example, is probably not the fittest genotype once the ice age is over.

To clarify- survival of the fittest ONLY MEANS survival of those who have statistically more offspring than others. And here you all were thinking fit means smart, or big, or strong. Nope. Remember, survival of the fittest is the mantra which, on this view, turned T Rex into Chickens. Read more of this post

Evolution 101- part 9: Hope, Change, and Lethal Mutations

Remember, normal text is copied from Evolution 101 by the Understanding Evolution team! (now serving the tri-state area!) http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

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Mechanisms of change

Each of these four processes is a basic mechanism of evolutionary change.

Mutation
A mutation could cause parents with genes for bright green coloration to have offspring with a gene for brown coloration. That would make genes for brown coloration more frequent in the population than they were before the mutation.Or a pre-existing recessive gene. A change in the frequency of a trait does NOT equate to a change in the genes of the individuals. Besides, in the example given, the beetles already had genes for brown. This has no bearing on the story above unless it is meant to explain why brown beetles exist in the first place, which, in the paragraph above, they do not attempt to do.
 Beetles5
Migration
Some individuals from a population of brown beetles might have joined a population of green beetles. That would make genes for brown coloration more frequent in the green beetle population than they were before the brown beetles migrated into it.Do I need to say how this doesn’t represent new genetic information? Let’s all take a second and remember that Evolution is supposed to explain the process by which bacteria became wolves and cabbages.
 beetles migration

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