August 29, 2008

Wing of Bat, and Mouse's Leg. "Deciphering how a paw becomes a wing confirms some of eco-devo's basic hypotheses."
  • Developmental and evolutionary innovation arises from the gathering of incremental predispositions in a diverse population that can, under selection, be shuffled into advantageous configurations... We used to be taught that mutations were more dramatic, over time, in an ISOLATED (less diverse) gene pool. The greater diversity came later, in other words, not as a prerequisite.
  • Fascinating stuff, Lil' guy! This article is a good illustration of how difficult it is to condense technical information down into something the average Monkey without a biology background can understand. They...found a short stretch of DNA, not a part of the protein-coding region, that was largely conserved in bat and mouse, suggesting an important function was constraining evolution. Constraining evolution? Noooooooooo... I don't think that's quite what happens... And, scuse me if I'm off-base, but isn't functional redundancy pretty controversial still? Monkeys without wings demand more explanation!!! Paging frogs! Frogs to the thread!
  • If these bats really evolved incrementally, not by some freak looming big in a small gene pool, but slowly in a large population... Why would that even work? No advantage for a long time doesn't give the proto-bat much of a leg up over the mice, so why would they be favored by Darwinian natural selection? Lamarckism has been set aside, but that rival theory would have us believe that acquired characteristics get passed on somehow (mice striving to fly over and over would finally bring on the wings). But that's absurd, if not just more unlikely. So I'm at an impasse. Homunculous has raised a fine modern conundrum here, but being Old School, I'll dredge even farther back into the past for some kind of explanation... How about Aristotle's Final Cause? That would just about explain everything. The End is the cause. We only need to view time all at once from a higher dimension. Is that possible? That the End of bathood is part and parcel with the beginning of mousiness? Any other ideas, friend monkeys, or frogs? We lost our tails, but might get them back through evo-devo if the End is right. Might even get a pair of wings too...
  • Well, I followed a link off a post homunculous made on MeFi, and see that these gene enhancers suddenly worked on people too... What a *long, strange trip it's been* with sudden periods of acceleration. Too bad this post is about done over here though...
  • Dang, I forgot about this when I posted over there. Thanks for reminding me.