Feeds

back to article Speedy evolution saves blue moon butterflies

Researchers on the island of Samoa have witnessed evolution in action, as the population of male "Blue Moon" butterflies has returned from the brink of extinction. The researchers, from Berkeley University, put the resurgence of the species down to an evolutionary arms race, in which the butterflies' latest weapon is a gene that …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Sex ratio

Quote:

"This study shows that when a population experiences very intense selective pressures, such as an extremely skewed sex ratio, evolution can happen very fast."

... So, explain me why it did not work with IT; as far as I feel under pressure I did not see any of my colleague IT-ers change sex or being replaced by a feminine counterpart.

We are doomed, are we? Just another good reason to get off early and have a pint.

GaB

0
0

Evolution?

And these evolved butterflies are

butterflies

right, lot of evolution there. However if you define Evolution as change then my cheese sandwich has just evolved into an eaten chees sandwich.

0
0

Evolution?

Evolution? Tsk. Surely God was worried that one of His creations was about to be wiped out and performed a miracle.

0
0

Are you sure?

It could have been the direct intervention of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

0
0

@ Martin Yirrell

I can't begin to describe to how stupid you have made yourself sound. I sincerely hope what you said was tongue-in-cheek, otherwise you clearly have no concept of what evolution is.

0
0
Rob

Evolution?

Going to love seeing the creationists rail against this one.

It should prove to be as good as the video on youtube with the numpty arguing that the modern banana is evidence of god because of the "design features" - rather than evidence of generations of selective breeding by man.

0
0
Ash

Mutating butterflies?

Unless it's laser eye beams and overpowering powder attacks like Mothra, i'm not interested!

0
0
Ru
Silver badge

Evolution.

Meaning change over time. So yes, in that sense, your sandwich did indeed evolve.

0
0

Viruses

"The researchers say the discovery illustrates how quickly a species can respond to an evolutionary pressure and, more generally, how important parasites might be as an evolutionary force."

That's why God gave us viruses.

0
0
TLA

A Worried god...

...Is scarcely a god at all.

I hope for your sake, ChrisB, that you are joking.

Surely your god created the bacteria that were killing the larvae? And why just save just this species, why not the Dodo? And don't give me the default "God works in mysterious ways" answer, that is an admission of ignorance.

I'm not questioning your religious beliefs, I'm questioning your reasoning.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Come on...

Let's not spoil the mood for the True Believers...

Those butterflies are still butterflies but if they want to call it evolution, better let them...you know how fanatics can be...

They don't realize how much faith their 'religion' requires, as no one has ever seen true one-species-to-another evolution in direct action -and yet they continue to believe in it.

On the other hand, if anyone has a video showing true one-species-to-another evolution in direct action, please post it to youTube...

0
0

Conservapedia

I look forward to reading their explanation of this event

No doubt it will be carefully thought out, accurately recorded and ..

nah. What am I saying?

it'll either be ignored or the report will be bollocks

0
0

Origins?

"The team is not certain of the origins of the saviour gene. It could have emerged through random mutation, or it could have been introduced into the population by a migrating butterfly."

The origin is obviously Creation. Evolution cannot add new information, only expose that which was put there originally by God. The gene has just been sitting around on the chromosome for several thousand years, drinking methylated CpG and swearing randomly at passers by.

</sarcasm>

John

0
0

nutural selection

Since when does evolution own the rights to natural selection? I say again, as I always do- this in no way supports molecules-to-man evolution! Random mutations could never account for enough gain in genetic information to go from "primordial soup" to humans. Every time this claim is made in the news lately they are shocked at how fast evolution is occurring. But natural selection almost always causes a decrease in genetic information. You are working genetics the wrong way. We started with great diversity of genetic information and we are working our way toward less variety of genetic possibilities. As IT professionals you should know better. Non-information cannot give rise to information. Genetic information is almost like a programming language. To say that information created itself out of nothing is ludicrous. It goes against the 2nd law of thermodynamics anyway.

Link for Thermodynamics:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/370.asp

Link for why you don't own the rights to natural selection and it really supports my position anyway:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/selection.asp

Good day

Danny

0
0

10 generations, one year?

My, my!

Who needs millions and billions of years, then?

0
0

Rob goes bananas?

Rob,

Selective breeding in bananas would cause a decrease in genetic information. So I am not sure if you are trying to use this as an argument for evolution. Seems kind of silly if you are.

Highly selective breeding in dogs create mutant creatures like poodles. The problem for evolutionists is that they have a loss of genetic information. The only way to regain useful genetic information would be to interbreed with another type of dog.

Danny

0
0

@TLA

Thanks for your concern; however, the post was written in jest. Don't question my reasoning, question my sense of humour. ;)

0
0

tguif?

"Just another good reason to get off early and have a pint."

As if you needed one...

0
0

Religious nutters...

have come out of the woodwork, innit?

Surely it's useless to point out there's a definite difference between evolution and speciation. Besides, it can't be video-ed either, this is not transmogrification.

0
0

thermodynamics

As soon as you see thermodynamics mentioned you might as well stop reading, its another creationist.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

re: Sex ratio

" "This study shows that when a population experiences very intense selective pressures, such as an extremely skewed sex ratio, evolution can happen very fast."

... So, explain me why it did not work with IT "

You have to actually *get some* in order for reproduction and hence evolution to take place.

0
0
JP

Of course it will spread quickly!

FFS, the parasites KILL the males without the gene, leaving only the ones that have to gene to reproduce! Does make for rather... busy... male butterflies for a couple of generations, I suppose.

Now, is the sex ratio back up to 40% due to more males, or the general population plummeting?

And doesn't that mean that all the butterflies are now descended from one male butterfly? Kind of like an Abraham of the Blue Moons, to mix religion and evolution...

0
0

We have the same DNA

We have the same DNA as these Butterflies, the very same, only our DNA has adapted differently to different environmental stresses.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Danny

As an IT professional, I actually understand what is happening with the genetic code and hence can understand the beauty of evolution, and why creationism is nonsense.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system entropy will always go up. Life becoming more organised is a decrease in entropy, but the cost of that order is increased entropy in the form of heat expenditure, turning organised matter into less organised energy. Just how much energy do you actually spend trying to reproduce? Starting with horizontal jogging and then carrying the child around for 9 months. Any decrease in entropy is easily covered by the massive entropy gain trying to create it and sustain it.

The IDiots argument for thermodynamics makes as much sense as declaring a refrigerator as violating the 2nd law. After all, lowering the temperature inside the fridge lowers entropy, a clear violation. Of course, the fridge is not a closed system, fridges generate a lot of heat which is radiated out the back, a net gain of entropy. The problem with IDiots is that you think an individual is a closed system, when that is obviously not the case.

Back to the IT professional part. Our genetic code can be considered to be a massive program, each gene and combination of genes is a subroutine or a sub-program and what happens in evolution is that the order and quantity of calls made to and from sub programs is changed. Sometimes the change does nothing, sometimes it does something so extreme that the program crashes (and the individual is never born). Evolution is a massive computer program and our genetic structure actually uses reflection to modify itself, so that while the program is running it actually also has a chance of rewriting small parts of itself (mutation), usually though these changes are just copying errors. You try copying an entire program by hand and see if you can do it without a mistake, remember all those magazines with massive machine code blocks to type in so that you can get your program? Genes are much better copiers than humans they tend to make very very few copying errors in comparison.

Natural selection is represented by the environment the program runs in, if an environment variable exists and the program makes use of it it successfully and runs better, then it is able to reproduce itself in new generations, if there's an environment variable that causes that program to crash, or run inefficiently, then that program has less chance of being successful and won't be as able to reproduce itself.

What's more, during reproduction you combine two different sets of routines and code (exactly 50% of each from male/female) and this brings diversity and the possibility of change, as you now have new subroutines that can be used, or subroutines that seem the same but behave slightly differently and in combination with your own subroutines can bring about new effects.

As the programs rewrite themselves they become less compatible with each other, their calling conventions change, or the number of parameters on a function change and crashes become more and more likely. Finally you have two programs that will just never work with each other and you get speciation, the formation of a new species.

It's why humans and goats (no matter how hard some humans seem to try) can never actually create a viable child, the human half of the program is far too different from the goat half and there's no way they could merge and run.

In contrast, horses and donkeys have only just (in evolutionary terms, i.e. thousands of generations) speciated, and as a result their code can make a fairly good attempt at working together. It's why you can cross horses with donkeys and get mules. The programs are sufficiently different though that the combined code is rather buggy, as a result it's impossible for mules to reproduce. That's why donkeys and horses are considered a separate species, their offspring will never be viable, they'll never breed. In a few thousand generations they'll in all likelihood be too far apart for even mules to be possible.

0
0

@various:

@Danny:

I just don't buy it. Basically they are saying that mutation cannot create anything new, which is complete rubbish. It's like saying that because all the letters of the alphabet have been invented, that just rearranging them cannot ever create anything new.

@Branedy:

"We have the same DNA as these Butterflies, the very same". I dunno what you are smoking pal, but I want some for the weekend. It may be 90% the same or something like that, but human DNA is certainly not 100.0% the same as butterfly DNA. Human and chimp DNA is only 95% similar - so there is NO WAY we have "the very same" DNA as butterflies.

0
0
Silver badge

We are all butterflies.

"We have the same DNA as these Butterflies, the very same, only our DNA has adapted differently to different environmental stresses."

When that teacher at primary school called me a pretty butterfly I thought she was just being nice...

The creationist/evolutionist argument is so old it's getting silly. I happen to think that evolution is a good scientific explanation of what facts we know (it may not be right or it may be, there are alternative theories out there that present some very convincing arguments, or would if thy were allowed a little time). Creationism is a good explanation of why we know them.

Einstein himself said it best: Science without Religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Even Darwin thought his theory would demonstrate the creative wonder of god until others seized on it as a stick to beat religion. We've been polarised ever since.

Lets just marvel at the amazing world we live in instead of arguing about how butterflies may or may not have evolved. It's far less stressful in the long run.

0
0

...What's this?

*Pulls up a deck-chair...*

*Sits down*

...Hmm...

...

...Wait a sec...

*Comes back with popcorn*

OK, continue.

0
0

re @ Danny

No name,

All this sounds technical but you are missing the point. For example, you say horses and donkeys can interbreed because they are only a few thousand generations apart. But you believe this because you have a presuppositional belief in evolution. You believe this not because the facts compel you to but because you are compelled by your biases to interpret facts in that way. I start with the presupposition that the Bible is correct. I interpret the facts upon that bias and I say donkeys and horses can interbreed because they shared a common ancestor with more genetic variety than either have horses or donkeys have now.

I am sorry to say this because you seem like a smart person but the following is rubbish:

"The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system entropy will always go up. Life becoming more organised is a decrease in entropy, but the cost of that order is increased entropy in the form of heat expenditure, turning organised matter into less organised energy."

First of all, we are not dealing with a closed system. Secondly:

"The open systems argument does not help evolution. Raw energy cannot generate the specified complex information in living things. Undirected energy just speeds up destruction. Just standing out in the sun won’t make you more complex—the human body lacks the mechanisms to harness raw solar energy. If you stood in the sun too long, you would get skin cancer, because the sun’s undirected energy will cause mutations. (Mutations are copying errors in the genes that nearly always lose information). Similarly, undirected energy flow through an alleged primordial soup will break down the complex molecules of life faster than they are formed."

(Quote from the link provided in the above post)

Also, name calling is childish. You may think that I am an IDiot but I don't even subscribe to the ID movement because, while they have some good arguments, they also have many contradictions. I suggest taking some time to learn the difference between a Biblical creationists and an ID person. It is frustrating to always be associated with them.

Also, a refrigerator does not lower entropy. The food inside does not become more complex. The refrigerator only slows the breaking down of the food. And it does not even do that well, as anyone who eats takeout a week later can tell you.

You are also missing the point with the programming language. A language cannot create itself from nothing or from chaos. (back to thermodynamics, this is a fundamental principle of the universe, I just don't see how you guys miss this)

Also you said,

"Evolution is a massive computer program and our genetic structure actually uses reflection to modify itself, so that while the program is running it actually also has a chance of rewriting small parts of itself (mutation)"

A mutation is a copying error. Errors in a programing language lead to errors in the execution of the software. Some mutations are harmless, many are destructive or imparing. Very few are beneficial. Mutations cannot build a primordial soup into a human. It goes against the natural laws of the way the universe opperates.

Every generation that reproduces is passing on more and more errors in the genetic code. There are processes in place that catch and repair errors but many still make it through if there are similar errors on the same place in the sequence. We are winding down, not up. We are moving from order to disorder. This is how the universe operates.

Danny

0
0

F*ck me its still a butterfly

No evolution here mate, just species adaption, its not turned into a dog has it? No matter how long you leave them, they will still be butterflies. Dunno how or why we are here but its not because some ambitious fish decided to try "land surfing" and liked so much it told all its mates about it. Evolution is about faith just as much as any religious explaination.

0
0

@Tosser

"Genetic information is almost like a programming language."

No, no, a thousand times no. As usual the most vociferous arguments against established fact are utter utter bollocks.

The idea of DNA bases as any type of 'programming language' as we understand it is fundamentally flawed, and falls squarely into the category of 'lies told to children', e.g it is a simplifying analogy that real scientists use when talking down to thick people who can't even understand basic physics. Sound familiar ?

Epigenetics, fetal development, go read a book, only get a better one than the 'classical physics for the learning impaired' volume you used to research thermodynamics.

0
0

so what species did the butterfly change into?

a moth? or a hippo? was that in the story or did i miss it?

EVOLUTION IS A FAIRY TALE for wishful thinkers

0
0

lol

the title says it all.

0
0

@clive

clive:

"I just don't buy it. Basically they are saying that mutation cannot create anything new, which is complete rubbish. It's like saying that because all the letters of the alphabet have been invented, that just rearranging them cannot ever create anything new."

by the way, natural selection is RANDOM MUTATION. to say that RANDOM MUTATION creates new species is like saying if I throw a billion letters into the air they RANDOMLY fall lined up into the works of shakespeare, or some such brilliant work. after a billion quadrillion cumulative tries of course. maybe some of you should try that on your next post. see you in 50 000 Anno Domini

0
0

moving it on a little...

Danny, as someone who clearly believes in the Bible and therefore the story of Noah's Ark, could you explain to me why a ship that preserved every animal in the world and came to rest in the middle east was responsible for the saving of a bird called the kiwi which has only ever been found in New Zealand.

Can you tell me how just one pair of these small flightless birds were able to cross significant land and water masses from one continent to the other without difficulty or coming to any sort of harm?

0
0

@Steve

"and falls squarely into the category of 'lies told to children',"

Along with:

The Tooth Fairy

The Easter Bunny

Santa Claus

Your bunny has just gone to live nextdoor

and pretty much all of the organised religions.

0
0

to neil

well neil, if you believe in God, Noah, and a flood that covered the earth up to the highest mountain, it's not much more of a stretch to believe in a flightless bird crossing the entire earth to be delivered from destruction, is it?

it's perfectly logical

0
0

Facts vs. Religion, or, Never Argue With An Idiiot

"Surely it's useless to point out there's a definite difference between evolution and speciation"

It certainly is pointless. The religious nutters think (and I use the term "think" in the most charitable way possible) that "intelligent design" is scientific; ergo, they wouldn't recognize real science it if jumped up and bit them on the nose.

Personally, I think all those people who think religion should rule in the real world should go live in Iran, where religion *does* rule in the real world.

Trying to explain scientific fact to the religious is about us useful as teaching kelp to drive, and about as much fun as masturbating with a cheese grater.

0
0

Re: Come on...

"...as no one has ever seen true one-species-to-another evolution in direct action..."

Interesting comment. I've tried to understand the religiously bent psyche. There is necessarily a strong teleological leaning. There also seems to be a need to cling to the status quo and, more so, the status quo ante. I suppose one could point to the Protestant Reformation as an indication in Europe the religious psyche embraces change over the status quo but the religious psyche seems still to default to a need to maintain the status quo and status quo ante in way analogous to ancestor worship. Your comment suggests another strong trait. The ancients held that man is the measure of all things. Your comment would seem to indicate that your convictions are anchored in your inability to think outside of yourself and the various scales it imposes on you.

While I agree that the idea of god is currently unassailable the parsing of the universe will not doubt turn up some devastating blows to your belief system. For example, I'm curious if an immortal soul can be sustained and go unmeasured in a Universe subject to entropy. Just a thought but indicative of what might be coming down the pike. Maybe you'd better not look.

Cheers

0
0

Re Danny

"A mutation is a copying error. Errors in a programing language lead to errors in the execution of the software. Some mutations are harmless, many are destructive or imparing. Very few are beneficial."

Now you're anthropomophising random mutations. Random mutations don't care what they are, and what they are is entirely dependent upon the conditions the organism encounters. Take sickle cell anemia - a debilitating and life-shortening condition in the developed world, but as it happens to inhibit malaria is actually an aid to survival in some parts of the world. A very intelligent design (not).

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Live speciation

"...as no one has ever seen true one-species-to-another evolution in direct action..."

Looking at the idiocy of some of the content in this thread, I believe I am watching human beings devolving into a different species known as "ignoramus" - you can see a lot of them on TV or YouTube too.

0
0

To Mr. Dotes

You said...

""Surely it's useless to point out there's a definite difference between evolution and speciation"

It certainly is pointless. The religious nutters think (and I use the term "think" in the most charitable way possible) that "intelligent design" is scientific; ergo, they wouldn't recognize real science it if jumped up and bit them on the nose.

Personally, I think all those people who think religion should rule in the real world should go live in Iran, where religion *does* rule in the real world.

Trying to explain scientific fact to the religious is about us useful as teaching kelp to drive, and about as much fun as masturbating with a cheese grater."

But you believe that everything formed from nothing for no reason at all through natural processes. I think I have far less faith than you. Just because YOU disagree with it does not mean it is not science. Anyway, I am not a religious person. I don't practice ceremonies or rituals. I just believe in the God that created heaven and earth.

Danny

0
0

To Niel,

I would love to answer that! Kiwi's are a descendant of a bird that was on the ark. This bird may have had the ability to fly or it may have gotten to New Zealand by a floating debris island. (Don't tell me I can't use that argument because I here the debris island argument from evolutionists a lot. After the flood there could have been debris in the oceans or from other natural disasters or naturally occurring circumstances.)

Anyway, through natural selection and adaptation to its environment the Kiwi no long resembles any other currently living bird so scientists call it a new "species".

Humans are (were) flightless, how did they get to New Zealand?

The problem with Noah's ark is that if that story were true we would find millions of dead things buried in layers all across the globe... oh wait, that is what we find!

Here is link to answer all of your questions regarding Noah and the Ark:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/noah.asp

Danny

0
0

@Neil moving it on a little

Yes very simple, if you believe the Bible the entire Earth's surface was under water (that explains why he built an ark, if it wasnt it probably would have been easier move to higher ground...lol) so whats your point? You may not believe it but others do, the world would be boring if we were all the same and to be fair if the only thing to debate was this then the world would be a much nicer place to live in, oh and it's still a butterfly by the way :)

0
0

to Greg Nelson

Excellent pseudo intellectual psycho-jibberjabber you have going there, mr nelson. did you learn that in university? looks like you're the one who fits neatly into the status quo

the "religious psyche" has nothing to do with any of that ridiculous nonsense you're spewing. it has to do with GOD CHOOSING ME, and so far, not you.

"For example, I'm curious if an immortal soul can be sustained and go unmeasured in a Universe subject to entropy."

the immortal soul is not PHYSICAL, and as such is not subject to the laws of PHYSICS. quite convenient, i think.

good luck parsing the universe. let us know how that works out

0
0

@ the author

You know, you're exhibiting a trait that will be selected against in journalism. Although the article was quite interesting, the comments are more interesting. You would have expended far less energy (and had more time at the pub) if you had just said "Evolution, debate." Watching fanatics debate (on both sides. Personally, I take a more apathetic stance. "It happened, who cares why? Where'd I leave that website I'm supposed to be designing...") is great Friday fun, thanks :).

0
0

Just one more then Danny...

Yes...all these dead things buried in layers all across the globe. How come we don't find fossilised rabbits in the Cretaceous period along with all of the other animals that died within weeks of each other?

0
0

Despair Inc. Poster

Has anyone here seen those 'Demotivational' posters? The ones that say things like: "Every cloud has a silver lining, but lightning kills hundreds of people each year trying to find it".

I have one here that fits this situation well: "Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics; even if you win, you're still retarded."

Well It's 3pm over here, I'm off to the pub! Good weekend everyone!

0
0

Re: to Greg Nelson

By hondo

"...the immortal soul is not PHYSICAL,..."

And yet it carries information. How does that work?

0
0

It's the thermodynamics argument I like best

And the reason I like it so much is what happens if you take that argument to extremes.

The argument says, 'evolution can't happen because entropy only works in one direction: any system only stays the same or gets less complex, it can't get more complex.'

Aside from fundamental misunderstandings about the meaning of 'complexity' and its implications, this conveniently overlooks one word in the definition: any *closed* system.

If you conveniently overlook this word in other cases, you get some great results. For example, any concentration of energy in a particular object is, by entropic definition, more complex than an absolutely average distribution of energy. The average temperature of the universe, if I recall correctly, is around 2 or 3 degrees Kelvin.

By a trivial application of logic, we can see that since nothing can become more complex, it therefore follows that anything that is currently warmer than 2 or 3 degrees Kelvin can not ever become warmer than it currently is.

-fred

0
0

Re: Re: to greg nelson

Hey Greg, if I knew that, I would be God, wouldn't I?

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.