Natural Selection and Macroevolution in your lifetime

"I don't think we came from monkeys. I think that's ridiculous. I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet." -Glenn Beck

I don't often write about biology here, but as many of you know, I often write about the history of the Universe, and that includes the Sun, the planets of the Solar System, and the Earth in particular.

Just this week, I came across the last in a series of one of the greatest nature shows I've ever seen: David Attenborough's Life series. In particular, this was Life in Cold Blood, which focused on reptiles and amphibians.

One of the complaints I regularly get over email is from people who don't accept evolution. They tell me that although microevolution may be true, we don't see macroevolution happening. In other words, large, visible organisms don't appear to evolve over the course of a human lifetime.

As I just learned, the Italian Wall Lizard (above) may have something to show us about that.

One of an Italian Wall Lizard's favorite meals are small insects, like flies. As you can see, above, these full-grown lizards are smaller than a human hand, and a fly makes a substantial meal for these guys. One of the lizard's tricks is to hang out near a particular type of lily, the dead horse arum flower (below).

This plant is particularly interesting for the fact that it makes an odor, deep inside the flower, that attracts flies. The flies enter inside, thinking that there's food due to the smell. Upon not finding any, they leave, and move on to the next potential food source.

Unless, of course, there's an Italian Wall Lizard standing watch.

You see, when the fly goes inside, the lizard can climb up onto the outside of the flower, block the fly's exit, and get an easy meal.

And this happens all over the Mediterranean, where Italian Wall Lizards and Dead Horse Arums are both abundant.

But on the island of Minorca, a Spanish Island, there's a spectacular example of natural selection, and macroevolution, happening just over the last 20 years.

This is a view of the countryside on Minorca. 20 years ago, lizards on Minorca came to the Dead Horse Arum flowers, trapped and ate the flies that flew inside, and moved on once the flowers died.

But one Minorcan lizard hung around after the flower died, and decided to sample the fruit of this plant.

Liking the taste, the lizard continued to return to the Dead Horse Arums for their fruit, and the habit caught on among Minorcan lizards.

How does this make evolution happen? Three important things:

  1. The lizards only eat the fruit of the plants that taste good to them.
  2. The seeds found in the fruit must be strong enough to survive devouring and digestion inside a lizard.
  3. Those seeds that do survive germinate inside the lizard, are carried around for some distance, and when they are excreted, give rise to new Dead Horse Arum plants!

And, just like you'd expect, the Dead Horse Arum Lily is flourishing all over Minorca. But the ones found on Minorca are different from the ones found elsewhere in the Mediterranean; they've evolved, and they've done so over the last 20 years!

How are they different? Rather than a mix of plants with fruit that taste good to the lizards and those that taste foul, only the ones that taste good are abundant on Minorca. And rather than a mix of thin, easily crushed seeds and thick, lizard-bite-resistant seeds, only the thick seeds thrive on Minorca.

Why? Because they were selected for, naturally, thanks to the new, learned behavior of the lizards. Amazing! And there you have it, an example of natural selection and macroevolution, happening right here on Earth over the course of our lifetimes. What more could you ask for?

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What more could you ask for?

Any reasonable person: Nothing.

Creationist: Manbearpig! (or at LEAST a crocoduck)

I'm pretty sure the creationists will simply deny this is an example of macro-evolution (without providing an example of what would be). They are right, but for the wrong reasons: there is no such thing as micro- or macro-evolution. There is only evolution (which is why they can't provide an example of what would be).

I am not familiar with their defenition of "macroevolution", but I assumed it had something to do with speciation. And preferably that the new species could not cross breed with the old/other.
This would most likely be refered to as an example of micro evolution. "So what, some plants grew thicker seed shells. That doesn't prove evolution."

By stormen_per (not verified) on 21 Oct 2010 #permalink

Creationists are going to argue back no matter what you tell them. If it's not the Bible it's not real... Why bother?

Go Lizards!

Just microevolution. Ask any creationist. There is no macroevolution, because all evolution is microevolution, and that's why there is no macroevolution. That's the definition of micro/macroevolution for you.

By Lassi Hippeläinen (not verified) on 21 Oct 2010 #permalink

Honestly, Ethan, I have been following this blog for a long time. Your posts have made physics and science in general much more interesting! You are killing ignorance one day at a time. Thank you! People really need to hear what you have to say and I tell every one of my friends to check out this site! It is so very rare to find well written and understandable physics explanations.

My sincere thanks,

Matt

I just want to leave you with a quote:
â"Recognizing your ignorance, the first step to wisdom it is"- Yoda (Quoted by Luke in Shadows of the Empire)

@stormen_per

Most often, the definition you get for "macro-evolution" from Creationists is "speciation", or what they think "speciation" is. Unfortunately, strict interpretation of their "definition" of that process would have horses and donkeys the same species, since they can inter-breed. Never mind that their offspring are sterile. Where it falls apart for them is they want to see so-called "intermediate" forms alive in conjunction with the "primitive" originator and the "evolved" descendent. Even fossil record evidence of intermediate forms often isn't good enough for them; Archaeopteryx doesn't prove birds evolved from dinosaurs, doesn't even suggest it. Actually, that's not the only place where it falls apart, but it's a good example.

For a technical paper on a very similar discovery, also concerning profound morphological change in European lacertid lizards, see...

Herrel, A., Huyghe, K., Vanhooydonck, B., Backeljau, T., Breugelmans, K., Grbac, I., Van Damme, R. & Irschick, D. J. 2008. Rapid large-scale evolutionary divergence in morphology and performance associated with exploitation of a different dietary resource. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, 4792-4795.

I covered the discovery (briefly) here.

Hi,
I can´t see the source of the history, could you

put it? In what paper are published ?

Thanks.

Santi.

By Santiago Campos (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

Many creationists even accept the reality of speciation. They draw the line at the origins of a new "kind". Check the web for "baramin". While "kind" is conveniently vague, it is suggested that it corresponds to a taxonomic family. (By the way, the Bible does not have a thing to say about speciation, one way or the other.)

It should be mentioned that much of the power of science is its ability to tell us about things that are not directly observed. Things that are too big or too small or too fast or too slow or too far away or too long ago or too dangerous or too unethical to observe directly. We use scientific inference to tell us about the composition of the stars or about electrons in semiconductors or the causes and cures for diseases.

...microevolution may be true, we don't see macroevolution...

When they start using terms like that, it's your clue that you're dealing with either a liar or an imbecile and you should end the conversation immediately.

I live at Menorca. So hoorah for you for finding this little info I didn´t know yet, and I´ve been coming here for over 40 years. However.
Mike is going to hate this. He is the entertainment guy at the resort were my wife works. Doing nature walks etc. But he is also deeply religious and an evolution denier.
You made my day!

When they start using terms like that, it's your clue that you're dealing with either a liar or an imbecile and you should end the conversation immediately.

Don't forget Hanlon's Razor. Ignorance has the same effects, but is much more easily cured than stupidity and lying.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

What more could you ask for?

A reference citation?
Or was all that detail from Attenborough?

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

ES: What makes you believe this is a "learned" behavior? All it requires is a small mutation of some taste receptor with natural stochastic variation of behavior -- and voila.

DM: Don't forget Hanlon's Razor. Ignorance has the same effects, but is much more easily cured than stupidity and lying.

Doesn't that suggest that Hanlon's Razor is wrong? If lying is stickier than ignorance, it would have much more stability than "ignorance" -- so it would be incorrect to assume ignorance when the more robust "liar" is possible.

another word of praise for your expositions. great work.

See also: apple maggot flies (Rhagoletis pomonella). The fly's natural larval-stage host in the New World was hawthorn; when apples arrived from Europe it was observed making a host shift to apples. Now there are two distinct races - those that feed on hawthorn and those that feed on apple - that minimally interbreed. Arguably new species, or speciation in progress, and it happened under human observation (particularly that of American apple farmers!).

But, you know, it's not a fly turning into an aardvark so it doesn't count.

By theshortearedowl (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

Alfonso @17:

The lizards spread the plants by eating the fruit and then excreting the seeds. They only eat the fruit that tastes good, so they only spread the seeds of those plants.

The lizards are selecting for fruit that tastes good, not for seeds that taste good.

Another example, while not during a SINGLE lifetime is the Heike crabs, with a shell that resembles not just a human face, not just a japanese face, but the face of a samurai warrior. Carl Sagan rocks btw.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIeYPHCJ1B8

While it's a good example of natural selection at work, I don't see how this is a demonstration of (macro)evolution, as there's no mention of any significant phylogenetic changes having taken place.

I think a better example would be this article, which, as it happens, is about the same type of lizard, and how it has changed significantly over a period of just a few decades.

Another example of speciation, by a different route, is Spartina townsendii. An American species of estuarine grass was introduced into the Southampton area as seed carried in ships' ballast. There, it hybridized with a European species to produce a sterile hybrid that reproduced vegetatively. A fault in meiosis resulted in a fertile tetraploid hybrid which proved to be very vigorous, spreading widely along the coasts. The Dee estraury, for example, was transformed from sandy beaches to grassy sheep pasture in a few decades.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

I can actually spell estuary correctly.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

It's hard to give a formal distinction between micro- & macro-evolution, but this example most definitely is microevolution. I think the more important distinction we ID'ers would make is that we think modification can only occur within statistical bounds inherent in the design of the ecosystem, mostly defined by the DNA. What we object to is the idea of wholly new features or species being created by accumulated mutation.

I love this evolutionary tale; unfortunately, @3 and @5 and @8 and @23 (& others) above are correct, this is not what the creationists mean by macroevolution. I believe they would call this a case of microevolutionâit's just a variety of the same Arum plant. Although we can't blame any real scientist who has real work to do for not being up on the tenets of "creation science," if we are going to refute them, we have to do so on their weird terms (sadly, maddeningly). "Macroevolution" is one species changing into another. Hence Beck's stupid comment about the half-monkey half-man. If the wall lizards' offspring, over several generations, started turning into something like Komodo dragons, they might be convinced. Emphasis on "might."

Lay off the poor creationists. They are not so different from scientists, relying upon the direct experience of a few, supported by the hearsay of the many. The hordes of followers in each camp rely upon ridicule, shaming, imprecision, mythologizing(tell me Einstein or Darwin hasn't been messianically polished), and brute emotional force to propagate their message.

Why? Because facts alone cannot power the collective experience, only myth and story can. We are that way because we evolved that way, and bands of humans who jumped to conclusions came quicker to the hunt than the verifiers(Chief, are you sure that noise in the brush is a prey animal?).

We are all stupid because it was selected for, and when we reason, we reason with minds designed to simplify, summarize, abandon facts and rely upon rumor as quickly as possible.

Everyone. Even scientists, who love to play the game of 'math calling the kettle myth.'

By popdarwin (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

Deborah @27-- "....this is not what the creationists mean by macroevolution."

What the creationists mean by macroevolution is "something that can't happen."

If Jesus Christ came down from heaven riding on a rainbow, with a halo around his head and thunderbolts shooting from both hands; if he landed in the parking lot of the Creation Museum, and announced that evolution was a fact and anyone who didn't accept it would burn in Hell-- the creationists would be praying to God to send down the *other* Jesus.

By hoary puccoon (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

A sperm impregnates an egg to become a living cell; the cell divides into a muticell organism; the organism specializes into organs, limbs, gill slits, tail, and head; a organism morphs into a creature with fingers, toes, lungs and a big brain; a screaming baby is expelled from the womb; a young man questions until he knows everything; an older man learns more until he questions everything; after a last breath, a corpse decomposes.

Wow! What a life story! Now if that life story doesn't threaten one's belief in "God"; there is no reason for the similar story of Darwin evolution to threaten anyone's religious belief.

There is little point in arguing about what science has learned about nature (e.g. the human fetus's gill slits; or the dead horse arum evolution). Scientific nitpicking excepted.

Besides what science doesn't understand well dovetails nicely with religion. I mean, who asks their pastor, rabbi or imam whether the dead horse arum evolved or not.

So creationists leave to scientific inquiry the things of science; and to the pastor, imam, rabbi and psychiatrist the important questions in your life.

By AngelGabriel (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

@27 is correct. This is not an example of Marco-evolution. Marco-evolution is when the lizard turns into Homer Simpson and the plant turns into Zhaan from Farscape.

I think I must be missing something.

I accept evolution and I am an atheist.

This is a perfect example of what most people call "microevolution" its micro because no new species have diverged.

There was variety among the species, advantageous variety was selected for. But this isn't an example of species diversification, its just a step.

Real evolution takes longer than 20 years!

By Stephen Marotta (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

Agree w/Stephen. It's a dramatic and suggestive example of microevolution, but that's all.

By Evan Harper (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

A somewhat introspective digression? But really, many microscopic lifeforms mutate and definitely evolve before our very eyes (so to speak). It's just that us bigger ones take a little longer. Google "virus mutation evolution" and you will see over 1.5 million hits. It appears some viruses and bacteria effectively stay at least one step ahead of human researchers looking for a cure to whatever malady or variation thereof that these bugs are spreading. Adapt or die? Is man not effectively even yet a superorganism? Hmmmmm.

By Lloyd Hargrove (not verified) on 22 Oct 2010 #permalink

This is not a very impressive example of evolution - there were no mutations involved in the experiment. All this experiment demonstrates is that the plants with thick seeds were more successful - but the thick seeds were present before 20 years ago. Much better examples of large scale evolution in a life time can be found in bacteria.

@26

we think modification can only occur within statistical bounds inherent in the design of the ecosystem, mostly defined by the DNA

What you think is not interesting, but why you think it. Purely of sociological interest. There are no statistical limits that prevent speciation across "kinds", of course.

Bats can even become birds.

God's story

God created 432 trillion humans and 60 trillion stars (or star-like heavenly bodies) over 40 million billion years ago. The goal of the creation was to achieve higher harmony.

To achieve Trinity (as mentioned by Jesus), God and all other gods (except eleven gods mentioned below) were born into this Earth for many times. They did not go about telling people they were gods. Many times they themselves did not know they were gods on Earth.

God spent trillions of years for achieving Trinity. About 30 years ago, Trinity was achieved. So, the Heaven has been full of joy. With Trinity, God's punishments are much swifter than before. Another benefit of Trinity is that human sins can be seen by sinners and others in public places rather than hidden from the public. Before Trinity, sins were often covered up in public places.

People cannot distinguish God (the Creator of Heaven and this physical universe) from the Father of the Creator. In the past when I said God , I sometimes actually meant the Father of God, for the latter was never mentioned in history. Both God and His Father are great. The Father of God has eleven companions who has never been born to any physical world. They are never mentioned in history.

Humans do not know the Father of God when we are awake. But when are asleep, we go to Heaven every night and we know Him. We simply forget what we know in our sleep, just as we forget our lives in Heaven (before we were born). Trust me, every devil knows who is the Father of God.

When we go to sleep every night, we go to Heaven to drink energy
provided by God. That's the normal condition, but some people go to their friends in hell and drink the energy of God in hell. All humans, no matter in hell or on heaven or in this universe, need the energy of God every so often. This point is obvious to every person in hell or on Heaven. But many people there, as on Earth, are still ungrateful to God most of the time.

The souls of other animals do not need to go back to Heaven to drink God's energy. That's why other animals are more alert in sleep than humans in sleep. That's why humans die within 7 to 8 days if they do not go back to Heaven/Hell to drink God's energy in 7 or 8 days. That's why we feel energetic in the morning even though we may not yet have breakfast in the morning.

*gobble*gobble*gobble*
*BURB*

@36 responded to a concise and topical post with unsupported invective and perfervid nonsense about bats turning into birds. Like worst Creationist parody of atheistic evolutionist. Scoring own goals.

@39 continuum fallacy; to say that the macro/micro distinction is fuzzy and not built on any fundamental immutable property of genetics is not to say that it is a canard. Could say same for tall and short.

OP and most of thread a huge fail for science advocacy.

By Evan Harper (not verified) on 23 Oct 2010 #permalink

...motorized goalposts!

You'll get the same answer as when creationists are told of the development of a new species of mosquito in the London Underground within the last 150 years, the observation of unique, new traits developed by bacteria in the lab through 30 years of evolution, or the explosive speciation of cichlids in Lake Victoria: "It's not really a new species" or "It's still a fill in name of genus/family/order here.

Refer them to At the Water's Edge by Carl Zimmer, which very clearly describes macroevolution that we know has occurred, namely the emergence of tetrapods from the sea and the whales' return to it.

Retch, fossil! What a pretty little fairy story.

If Glenn Beck would raise his blinkered eyes from our closest relatives, he would find many examples of existing organisms from before various phylogenetic splits. Sharks and rays are descendants of the fish that flourished before bones became bony.

Comment #37/Wretch Fossil

Well, you seem pretty confident about your thesis, so tell me, how did you come to this conclusion if no one can remember these encounters after they wake...what makes you so *special*?

By Sphere Coupler (not verified) on 23 Oct 2010 #permalink

Ignorance of evolution among creationists is equaled only ignorance of creation principles by evolutionists.

My point is that this represents What Evolution is Not:

First, Mr. Siegel's argument:

There is this flower called the dead horse arum lily. It has become a favorite location for the Italian Wall Lizard to sit and wait for flies as meals. Both the flower and lily have come to exist on the Spanish island of Minorca. In this environment, for some unknown reason, the lizard has decided to eat the preferred seeds of the lily after the flower dies. But it eats only certain seeds, those with a likable flavor and seeds strong enough to survive the lizard's digestive tract. And so a predominant variety of this lily now flourishes on the island. Mr. Siegel calls this natural selection and accepts it as an example of macroevolution in a short window of time.

Now, Mr. Siegel is quite happy with this conclusion. But given the evidence he presented, the case is less than strong that this is anything beyond hybridization. Without some control to provide evidence that a new species has been created, a simple question needs to be addressed:

If this lily were to be mixed with its predecessor's pollen, would the features be reduced to the common features?

The net of this is to show that (1) the change is permanent, (2) creates unique non-crossing species, and (3) is beneficial to the plant itself. The third is necessary to fulfill the popular evolutionary model that non-beneficial traits will automatically and systematically be rejected over time. That is a wait-and-see matter which is yet to be determined. The other two, though, seem to make this irrelevant since the case has not been made for either.

Wretch Fossil wrote:

That's why we feel energetic in the morning even though we may not yet have breakfast in the morning.

Speak for yourself, you insufferable morning person.

The lizards and plants together show the larger or âmacroâ side of evolution perfectly. This is evolution that can be seen because it is a physical change in the plants seeds and even the plant itself. I like this article especially because it is caused simply by the fact that the lizards liked the fruit of the plant and the result of them eating it caused evolution. Macroevolution seems to be much simpler then microevolution based on what I know about both from this post and from past experience. From what I know most microevolution takes a long time and happens because of some sort of environmental anomaly. This change in the environment could be in the atmosphere or evolution of another organism in the environment. The subject under going evolution would slowly adapt to survive with the change in its environment. Because of the length it is not able to be observed in a lifespan and although it has never been seen happening it is more noticeable when looked back at. The simplicity of macroevolution like the lizard and plant in this example is much less noticeable.

I always just hear that organisms evolve over time, but I never thought it was happening now. When I hear the word evolution the first thing that comes to mind is humans. Itâs fascinating that these Dead Horse Arum flowers have evolved in such a short time. Also, I find it fascinating how natural selection occurs in animals. The best tasting plant is selected. Humans in some ways work the same way. Popularity of these flowers led to its spreading. The more plants eaten the more their speeds dispersed. That explains why some plants are so abundant. Are there any other plants or animals encountered on a daily basis that have evolved in such a short period?

But one Minorcan lizard hung around after the flower died, and decided to sample the fruit of this plant.

This reads like childrens' story. Not helpful!

Odd that Glen Beck has no mirrors in his house...

He has mirrors, but he doesn't show a reflection in them.

I find it odd that no one has pointed out how odd it is that you are getting so many emails from creationists complaining that they don't believe in macroevolution. Last I checked, you aren't a biologist.

I was thinking the same thing Garbiedina. The Youtuber Andromedaswake did a good parody of that thinking when he assaulted PZ Myers with his video camera. Quite funny if you get a chance to watch it.

By Revyloution (not verified) on 25 Oct 2010 #permalink

An old cartoon I remember:

God sitting on his throne, rubbing his beard. Says to Saint Peter standing there: "Whatever happened to that planet where I made all those monkeys?"

@30 AngelGabriel said "Besides what science doesn't understand well dovetails nicely with religion."
Only because religion has to keep ceding ground to science. Religious leaders used to say the Earth was the center of the universe, and it was flat, and the man was specially created rather than evolved, but evidence ultimately proved them wrong. Religion is a patch that fills in holes science hasn't found answers for yet. But science is always striving for more answers, and will continue to fill in those holes.

"So creationists leave to scientific inquiry the things of science; and to the pastor, imam, rabbi and psychiatrist the important questions in your life."
If creationists actually left science alone, I wouldn't care about them. But they spread misinformation and worse, they try to get their particular brand of religion taught in schools alongside of or instead of evolution. Aside from being unconstitutional, this movement--this attitude that science is not important--is one of several reasons why American students are consistently outperformed by students of other developed countries in these subjects.

By cactusren (not verified) on 26 Oct 2010 #permalink

This is called farming in most cultures. Even though this lizard isn't consiously doing it, it is still a form of farming. Take pumpkins, you keep and plant seeds from a small one, you will get small ones and vice-versa (the preferred method), the same for watermelons, tomatoes, etc. If we humans have evolved here on this planet what we do is just as natural as any other life form. If you think what humans do isn't natural, then you must believe we are "un"natural and don't belong here.

"I don't think we came from monkeys. I think that's ridiculous. I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet." -Glenn Beck

I think it is ridiculous too!

Every day I notice that more and more people are STILL monkeys, not able to see past their fucking nose or have an original thought.

By Sphere Coupler (not verified) on 28 Oct 2010 #permalink

Although the bottom of history is correct the details are bad.
1) It is not exactly Menorca, is a small barren island in the called Southeast Illa de L'Aire.
2) The Lizard is not The Italian Wall Lizard (Podarcis sicula)
it is The Lilford' s Wall Lizard (Podarcis lilfordi) . It is endemic to the Balearic Islands. concretely Podarcis lilfordi lilfordi (Günther, 1874). Found in the Air islet, off the southeastern coast of Minorca

In the mainland (Menorca) Podarcis Lifordi was extinguished with the arrival of the humans.

I believe that dead horse arum inhabits in both sites as much Menorca as in the Small barren island, so we will be able to compare as they are been different the seeds.

Greetings from Menorca.

Santi.

By Santiago Campos (not verified) on 29 Oct 2010 #permalink

I'm an evolutionary biologist who identifies and describes fish species. Macroevolution is used in the evolutionary community to mean a speciation event, at the very least. Changes which do not result in speciation are thus microevolutionary changes. I think that is all you have here, because I see no good evidence that a speciation event has occurred. I think speciation is all there is to macroevolution. I've never heard of processes called geniusization, familyization, etc. New genera, families, orders, etc. are, I think, the result of a series of speciation events. Likely no one of these speciation events is particularly exciting, but perhaps that is just the incrementalist in me speaking.

Anyway, your story is very interesting, particularly because I have raised some of the stinky aroids.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 29 Oct 2010 #permalink

Thanks, Jim @60. I am also a biologist and was about to make the same point. There seems to be a common misunderstanding among some who promote evolutionary theory that "macro-" and "microevolution" are terms only used by creationists. Not sure where that got started!

@40,
nonsense about bats turning into birds. Like worst Creationist parody

Yes, I was taking the mickey. Bats are categorized with birds in the bible, which is the source of "kinds" or "baramins", which is THE ONE AND ONLY source of the erroneous and non-scientific idea that "macroevolution (from one 'kind' to another) never occurs (because kinds were created fully formed by God)".

There is no less-worse ID paradigm. It's creationism, even when dressed up, such as when some chap uses the sciency-sounding phrase "statistical bounds" to describe this non-existent barrier to speciation.

Did the term coevolution get used? This is an example of coevoultion between predator (lizard) and prey (plant).

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 06 Nov 2010 #permalink

I find these Lizards most interesting as a herp collecter because of their curious nature that is so unlike any other lizard. I would love to work with them and see how quickly they learn new behaviours.

By jonathan Vong (not verified) on 29 Oct 2011 #permalink

This proves natural selection but hardly proves evolution. The idea of gradual change of species doesn't seem to support the huge innovations and diversity that happened quite suddenly according to the fossil record. It doesn't explain how a nervous system and a circulatory system were created simultaneously or the vast transition from invertebrate to vertebrate or single cellular to multicellular.

To me I'd characterize it as complete lunacy to presume that the chemical factory of a cell or it's complex microcode in the form of dna appeared by accident. It would be more likely my ipod spontaneously generated from the silicon sand at the beach, since that device is less complex than even a single celled organism.

Moreover there is still a problem here. Remove the lizard species from the island and what happens? I believe you will find that the plant reverts to it's prior form as did those moths in the UK. The dna code is self correcting over time isn't it? That kind of defeats the premise of evolution in my humble opinion.

O, what an inaccurate entry! I see the same spirit of other evolutionists here: there's no use of empirical scientific method, no reference to reliable sources, no demonstration of honest data, and A LOT of speculation.

Let me tell you that you show no evolution whatsoever my dear. All you did here was try to show natural selection happening in lizards and plants in the island of Minorca, but you tried to use it as a "proof" of so-called "macro-evolution".

You must be joking when you say that evolution happened when the lizards learned new behavior, mustn't you?

First of all, natural selection is not evolution. As a biology student, you would be expected to know the difference.

Second, adaptation is not evolution. And no new genetic information is required for a lizard changing behavioral patterns.

Third, the genetic code of the lizard will not change just because the lizard is eating a new kind of fruit. The lizard is just doing something different, but it's still a lizard, with the same DNA, just like their progenitors were lizards too, just like God created them. If you come to Mexico and eat mangoes for the first time, you won't believe that you are evolving because you are eating new fruits, will you?

Fourth: You say that the Dead Horse Arum Lily which "tastes good" is flourishing more, and the one that "tastes bad" is flourishing less. So what?. This has nothing to do with evolution since the Dead Horse Arum Lily is still a Dead Horse Arum Lily. Thomas Robert Malthus (who was a Christian) talked about this relation between population of species and food, long before the existence of evolutionists.

An Intelligent Designer created both the Minorcan lizard, and the Dead Horse Arum Lily, and they are still the same kind of living being that He created. The lizard is not evolving into a crocodile, nor the plant is evolving into a sequoia.

Finally, I thank you for letting me see again the inaccuracies of evolutionist apologetics.

LOL.... yeah right. I guessed they evolved into "homogullible".

By Steve Doha (not verified) on 05 Jan 2014 #permalink

"The idea of gradual change of species doesn’t seem to support the huge innovations and diversity that happened quite suddenly"

Yeah, suddenly being "over millions of years".

Not that sudden, really.

A human eye with varying focal length over its radius can evolve from "flat cell membrane that detects photons" in 100,000 stages from mere random genetic mutation with the selection process of "does it make an image better than the previous one?" being the only selection pressure, not design.

PS Natural Selection is the method by which evolution creates the diversity of species apparently fitted by design for their niche.

Still a lizard. #naturalselection

@Tom #70: Ah, category error. The favorite fallacy of the scientifically illiterate.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 14 Dec 2014 #permalink

I'm trying to find examples of macroevolution. The guy on Youtube I'm arguing with has restricted it so that the new species can't breed with the other species. So unfortunately I don't think I can use this as an example. : (

How rediculous is this, he's also stacked the deck in his favour, so I can't use;
- fossils
- narrowed the definition of species to such an extent that we would not be able to breed two separate species in our own lifetime (e.g. must be able to breed together)
- Narrowed the definition of scientific theory to one that is 100% provable fact only

It's just ridiculous talking to such people!
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Fascinating story. Thanks!

By 123abcbruce (not verified) on 05 May 2015 #permalink

I guess the real argument here is Atheistic Darwinism v's creation. I believe that the universe and all that is in it was created by God as it says in the Bible. I also believe in, or should i say accept most all scientific data, And the two do not conflict with each other. This could very well be argued to be God's plan all along. I have seen nothing in all the data that could be proven to be nothing but random chance or accidental mutation without any purpose whatsoever that just happens by random chance to work.

By michael purdy (not verified) on 30 Sep 2015 #permalink