Convergent evolution Ecology Evolution Intelligent Design

Blood feeding evolved independently about 100 times despite being a very complex trait

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Talk about a hard sell: Sucking your blood improves the ecology? Well, here we are at the Smithsonian, and …

In a sprawling gallery of the Royal Ontario Museum, curators and technicians crowded around two large coolers that had recently arrived at the Toronto institution. Wriggling inside the containers were live sea lampreys, eel-like creatures that feed by clamping onto the bodies of other fish, puncturing through their skin with tooth-lined tongues, and sucking out their victims’ blood and bodily fluids. Staff members, their hands protected with gloves, carefully lifted one of the lampreys and plopped it into a tall tank. It slithered through the water, tapping on the glass walls with its gaping mouth, rings of fearsome teeth on full view.

Brigit Katz, “Why the World Needs Bloodsucking Creatures” at Smithsonian.com

If you have succeeded in suppressing the urge to just run out and kill ‘em all, consider:

“Bloodsuckers” opens in a corridor bathed in red light, where an installation featuring three strands of red blood cells dangles from the ceiling. Blood is a hugely abundant food source, so it makes sense that wherever vertebrates exist, animals would arise to steal their life-sustaining fluids. Blood-feeding likely evolved repeatedly over the course of our planet’s history—“perhaps as many as 100 times,” according to Kvist. Bloodsucking creatures have no common ancestor, as the behavior has cropped up independently in birds, bats, insects, fish and other animal groups—a testament to its evolutionary value.

“I can think of no other system that’s [so] intricate that has evolved separately,” Kvist says. “And it makes blood-feeding as a behavior even more beautiful.” … Brigit Katz, “Why the World Needs Bloodsucking Creatures” at Smithsonian.com

We would have to be really committed to the ecology to see bloodsucking as beautiful but hey anyway, here’s the Royal Ontario Museum exhibit.

See also: Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible? So much intricacy one hundred times, with no underlying design?

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4 Replies to “Blood feeding evolved independently about 100 times despite being a very complex trait

  1. 1
    martin_r says:

    you did not know that?

    most miracles happen in evolutionary biology…

    “Blood Feeding Evolved Independently About 100 Times Despite Being A Very Complex Trait”

    so what ?

    another VERY COMPLEX trait / organ is a placenta and also evolved 100 times….

    “Placental structures have evolved to support pregnancy in most organisms that give birth to live young, totaling more than 100 independent origins across the animal kingdom.”

    https://phys.org/news/2017-03-placenta-complex-evolve.html

    so who believes in miracles ?

    For more miracles visit my blog at
    https://stuffhappens.info/

    happy reading…

  2. 2
    EDTA says:

    Of course it’s worded to imply that its survival value (for the parasitic creatures) is so great that this fact alone increased the number of times that it evolved. Very subtle.

  3. 3
    massam says:

    Asking for clarity here. How does this exactly go against Neo Darwinism?

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Massam- neoD doesn’t have a mechanism capable of producing eukaryotes, let alone the metazoans in question. It cannot account for the biological system(s) required to live off of blood.

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