Where is the proto-cow?

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #31781

    Unseen
    Participant

    While I very much think Darwin was basically right when it comes to how characteristics of species become established.

    But how does a new species happen? Darwin isn’t much help there. They often seem to show up on the scene rather abruptly.

    I’m pretty sure mutations must be involved, but it’s hard to imagine what creature preceded the cow and then suddenly became the cow because a gamma ray smashed into a strand of DNA. We can set up a progression of creatures that more and more came to resemble the modern horse, but even that is just speculation because we don’t have access to any of those creatures DNA.

    #31782

    _Robert_
    Participant

    You really gonna pose the missing link question again and then use a product of artificial selection as the example, LOL?

    #31787

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Surely a new species happens in response to local conditions changing, and this happens quite rapidly.

    #31793

    I have very little time for Berlinski. Too many people mistake his pomposity for intellectualism. He has often supported the “theory” of Intelligent Design while dissing scientific reasons that support Evolution. Jerry Coyne sums it up here.

    Here he is in debate with Hitchens (a good one to watch).

    #31794

    jakelafort
    Participant

    First i heard of Berlinski. Don’t need to hear/read him again. That is just sophistry and a recapitulation of creationism’s BS. More and more fossils are being discovered to fill in those wished for gaps. Query how amazing it is that fossils from 10s, 100s of thousands of years and millions of years are preserved and located when every year new species are discovered! T

    The comparatively rapid emergence of a species is known a punctuated equilibrium.

    #31795

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Here he is in debate with Hitchens (a good one to watch).

    Guy looks like he should be working on a Delorean time machine.

    #31799

    Guy looks like he should be working on a Delorean time machine.

    yes, or he has just eaten some cocaine cookies 🙂

    #31816

    Unseen
    Participant

    Some rather oblique poisoning of the well going on here. Can we talk about this apart from the source?

     

    #31820

    The modern cow is evolved from aurochs which have since been hunted to extinction. It started in different regions about 10,000 BCE in locations like India and Europe. This gave rise to different breeds and the domestication and artificial selection process continues still. Similar I suppose to the domestication of dogs from wolves.

    Berlinski makes the common Creationist assertion that “Darwin’s theory and the fossil record are in conflict”.

    We don’t need the fossil record. If we forget about the 1870’s ideas of the theory and look to the field of Modern Evolutionary Science and genomics then we can trace the evolution of cattle throughout the ages. We can even make deductions about global human migration using it. We just don’t depend on the fossil record.

    If you leave your DNA at a crime scene it does not matter if the video footage is of poor quality. The case can still be proven. Protesting about the picture quality is irrelevant.

     

     

    #31821

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Yes, just because the fossil record is incomplete doesn’t make it in conflict with Darwin’s theory.

    #31822

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Humans knew the cow’s ancestors very well. BTW, geographical separation and climate variation are often neglected factors in speciation. Take two groups of the same species. Put one group in Africa and place the other group in Australia and wait 10 million years or so with typical climatic variations. Life will find a way, if you get my continental drift.

    #31830

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    (People here know most of the following, big-picture summary with a dose of speculation.)

    Fossil history is about finding bits and pieces, amounting to a very small sample of the complete history. The probability of locating and discovering any species depends on its population over time, geographical spaces, conditions of preservation, and other chance circumstances. Trilobites are in abundance, while the abundance of shark skeletons and other soft-tissue organisms eludes us except for those long frozen in ice.

    The only “conflict” we see in fossil history is the conflict contrived or the history conveniently ignored. The brand new science of genetic reconstruction is making up for a lot of the missing pieces of puzzles. Controversy is a better word, because it’s inevitable during development of new scientific research and discoveries, albeit controversy also enables charlatans and idealists (like creationists) to invent their own, self-serving narratives.

    One of the most brilliant finds by scientists who were actually looking for specific evidence of particularly pivotal transitional species in pre-mammalian evolution occurred only six years ago. See Tiktaalik:

    In 2014, the discovery of the animal’s pelvic girdle was announced; it was strongly built, indicating the animal could have used them for moving in shallow water and across mudflats. Neil Shubin and Ted Daeschler, the leaders of the team, have been searching Ellesmere Island for fossils since 2000.

    Cattle and other domesticated-by-human animals have their own, short-lived histories of artificial evolution, while it seems we accidentally ended the reign of (e.g.) wooly mammoths. As our recent, short-term climate change melts the Arctic permafrost, we’re finding enough fossils of those beasts and their contemporaries to likely be able to reconstruct enough DNA to bring them back to life. I’m thinking this kind of science project could excite enough young humans to love and learn the sciences of genetics, evolution, and climate change all at once, from as early as elementary school.

    Add to that other developing paleontological studies with proven impacts on humanity, like of emerging pathogens that cause pandemics: Diseases like MERS, SARS, ebola; spread and/or harbored among pigs, chickens and other intentional domestications, or bats and other exotic animals that civilization increasingly contacts.

    (That’s just for starters. Might we even have incidental evolutionary and shared-pathogen history with bats in caves? Mites? Other parasites?)

    So we have at least two major paradigms of evolutionary science to (so-to-speak) flesh out: Pre-human, and human-related. (I also meant to mention ring species as a evidence of how species variation can “transition” to full speciation… in these cases usually facilitated by increasing geographic distance of separation between populations.)

    #31833

    Davis
    Participant

    Zheesh. Just pick up any book by Dawkins on evolution. He’s written two very good ones. He explains it all effortlessly. It is ludicrous to have expected Darwin to give all the answers. Modern biologists have mostly answered the question you post which you seem to suggest hasn’t been cracked. It has. Try “The Greatest Show on Earth” or “The View From Mount Improbable”. And these books were written some years ago. So yeah. With fossil records from the very first mammals, to emerging species to man and ape’s common ancestor and so on, there really really really really really aren’t notable gaps in the fossil record. Not enough gaps that we cannot explain how new species emerge. And no they don’t all happen suddenly.

    #31834

    Unseen
    Participant

    Humans knew the cow’s ancestors very well. BTW, geographical separation and climate variation are often neglected factors in speciation. Take two groups of the same species. Put one group in Africa and place the other group in Australia and wait 10 million years or so with typical climatic variations. Life will find a way, if you get my continental drift.

    Come on, that’s just a picture of some kind of cow. Cave paintings are too recent to show anything like a pre-cow.

    #31837

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    But this one has freckles. I don’t think modern cows have freckles, except when they’re young, or Irish.

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