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Eyeless, highly modified harvestman species found

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eyeless harvestman/Rafael Fonseca-Ferreira

Interesting, because 300 million years ago, harvestmen (like spiders) were much the same as today. Said one researcher, “It is absolutely remarkable how little harvestmen have changed in appearance since before the dinosaurs.”

Yet changes do happen. From ScienceDaily:

Called after Tolkien’s character from the “Lord of the Rings” series, a new eyeless harvestman species was found to crawl in a humid cave in southeastern Brazil. Never getting out of its subterranean home, the new daddy longlegs species is the most highly modified representative among its close relatives and only the second one with no eyes living in Brazil.

While there are cave dwellers that can easily survive above the ground and even regularly go out in order to feed or mate, there are some, such as the new harvestman species, Iandumoema smeagol, that never leave their subterranean habitats. As an adaptation, the new harvestman species is eyeless and has a reduced amount of melanistic pigmentation, which shows through its pale yellowish colours. More.

Could the eyes be bred back in? It’s worth considering, if we consider the history of the blind cave fish:

Losses can be reversed. Blind Mexican cavefish are considered an excellent model for studying evolution, with revealing results. In the lab, researchers have mated blind cave fish from separate and distant underwater caves and produced sighted offspring. Apparently, separate mutations had produced the blindness, and some hybrid offspring inherited a mix that includes enough genes for functioning sight. So no irrevocable devolution had taken place after all.

We shall see.

See also: Devolution: Getting back to the simple life

and

Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen

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Here’s the abstract:

– A new species of troglobitic harvestman, Iandumoema smeagol sp. n., is described from Toca do Geraldo, Monjolos municipality, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Iandumoema smeagol sp. n. is distinguished from the other two species of the genus by four exclusive characteristics – dorsal scutum areas with conspicuous tubercles, enlarged retrolateral spiniform tubercle on the distal third of femur IV, eyes absent and the penial ventral process slender and of approximately the same length of the stylus. The species is the most highly modified in the genus and its distribution is restricted only to caves in that particular area of Minas Gerais state. The type locality is not inside a legally protected area, and there are anthropogenic impacts in its surroundings. Therefore, Iandumoema smeagol sp. n. is vulnerable and it must be considered in future conservation projects. Open access – Ricardo Pinto-da-Rocha, Rafael Fonseca-Ferreira, Maria Bichuette. A new highly specialized cave harvestman from Brazil and the first blind species of the genus: Iandumoema smeagol sp. n. (Arachnida, Opiliones, Gonyleptidae). ZooKeys, 2015; 537: 79 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.537.6073

23 Replies to “Eyeless, highly modified harvestman species found

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    Interesting, because 300 million years ago, harvestmen spiders were much the same as today.

    Harvestmen, in addition to not being spiders, are a pretty diverse group. It might be that some species look like their ancestors, but that doesn’t meant they are all entirely primative.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Right, wd400 at 1, they are like spiders but not spiders. Who said they were primitive? What exactly does “primitive” mean, in life forms?

  3. 3
    wd400 says:

    So, “harvestmen spiders” they are not.

    You said they were primitive, since that word means similar to an ancestral state.

  4. 4
    News says:

    wd400 at 3, “primitive” has many connotations. Not necessarily “not much changed.” If the early harvestmen were “primitive,” a common usage of the word, would that mean they were similar to an ancestral state?

  5. 5
    wd400 says:

    I honestly don’t know what you’re on about. In biology primitive means like an ancestral state, that can including beingthe ancestral state or retaining those chracters over time. In that sense saying harvestmen are “not much changed” is saying they are primitive.

  6. 6
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Another perfect example of what happens when someone who knows nothing about biology…tries to talk about biology.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    Lizzy @6, another perfect example of a dirt worshiper who knows nothing about simple math. Here, Lizzy. Repeat the following 1000 times every day. Use a prayer mat, if possible:

    The combinatorial explosion kills Darwinism dead.

    Come back when you are fully deprogrammed and properly converted. LOL

  8. 8
    News says:

    wd400 at 5, “not much changed” does not necessarily mean “primitive” in plain English.

    I have heard lampreys described as “primitive” jawless fish. True, they are largely unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. If one regards the original lampreys as “primitive,” to what ancestral state of theirs would we be referring?

    Or are we really, generally referring to lampreys’ attributes compared with other, jawed fish?

    If not, what?

    Alicia Cartelli, grow up or get lost.

    So this is what Darwin’s legacy has come to … no wonder there is a broad move against it afoot.

  9. 9
    News says:

    While we are here, if a life form devolves, is the ancestral, more complex state “primitive”?

  10. 10
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Pouy, did you forget to take your meds today?

    News, I’m just saying you should learn basic biology before you try to talk about it.

    And “a broad move?”
    Exaggerate much?

  11. 11
    News says:

    Alice Cartelli, you are on a warning. Answer the question at 9 or leave the discussion. This is about basic English usage, not basic biology.

    For too long, Darwin’s followers have managed to tie up too many people in semantics, convincing no one but themselves and Airhead TV.

  12. 12
    wd400 says:

    Devolution is not a useful (or even really meaningful) term. Primitive states can be more complex than derived ones.

  13. 13
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Sorry news, but to talk about biology (which is what you guys often try to do here) you need to learn its language.

  14. 14
    Mapou says:

    Lizzy:

    Pouy, did you forget to take your meds today?

    LOL. Not at all. I use high potency, Rocky Mountains grade, medicinal cannabis. And you?

  15. 15
    brian douglas says:

    WD400: “Devolution is not a useful (or even really meaningful) term. “

    But they were a fabulous 80’s punk band.

  16. 16
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    That explains a lot, Pouy.

  17. 17
    asauber says:

    Devolution is not a useful (or even really meaningful) term.

    Haha. Neither is evolution.

    Andrew

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    Lizzy @16,

    Yes it does, Lizzy. Yes it does. You should be ashamed that us pothead IDiots are relentlessly and mercilessly kicking your Darwinist behinds, day in and day out. 😀

  19. 19
    bornagain says:

    “Devolution is not a useful (or even really meaningful) term.”

    that typical non-scientific Darwinian remark reminds me of this remark:

    Evolution, You’re Drunk (Go Home!) Jan. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: When asked whether de-evolution, a reversal from the complex to the simple, happens frequently, Dunn replies, sure. “But,” he adds, “I wouldn’t call that de-evolution, I’d call it evolution.”
    http://nautil.us/issue/9/time/.....oure-drunk

    And there you have it folks, even devolution is proof of evolution in the ever plastic mind of a Darwinist.

    John Sanford, inventor of the “Gene Gun’ and pioneer in Transgenic Crops, disagrees and rightly holds ‘de-evolution’ to be a powerful evidence against evolution, (as evolution is commonly understood to mean from simple to complex):

    Dr. John Sanford “Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY98io7JH-c

    Human Genetic Variation Recent, Varies Among Populations – (Nov. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: Nearly three-quarters of mutations in genes that code for proteins — the workhorses of the cell — occurred within the past 5,000 to 10,000 years,,,
    “One of the most interesting points is that Europeans have more new deleterious (potentially disease-causing) mutations than Africans,”,,,
    “Having so many of these new variants can be partially explained by the population explosion in the European population. However, variation that occur in genes that are involved in Mendelian traits and in those that affect genes essential to the proper functioning of the cell tend to be much older.” (A Mendelian trait is controlled by a single gene. Mutations in that gene can have devastating effects.) The amount variation or mutation identified in protein-coding genes (the exome) in this study is very different from what would have been seen 5,000 years ago,,,
    The report shows that “recent” events have a potent effect on the human genome. Eighty-six percent of the genetic variation or mutations that are expected to be harmful arose in European-Americans in the last five thousand years, said the researchers.
    The researchers used established bioinformatics techniques to calculate the age of more than a million changes in single base pairs (the A-T, C-G of the genetic code) that are part of the exome or protein-coding portion of the genomes (human genetic blueprint) of 6,515 people of both European-American and African-American decent.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132259.htm

    Scientists Discover Proof That Humanity Is Getting Dumber, Smaller And Weaker By Michael Snyder, on April 29th, 2014
    Excerpt: An earlier study by Cambridge University found that mankind is shrinking in size significantly.
    Experts say humans are past their peak and that modern-day people are 10 percent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors.
    And if that’s not depressing enough, our brains are also smaller.
    The findings reverse perceived wisdom that humans have grown taller and larger, a belief which has grown from data on more recent physical development.
    The decline, said scientists, has happened over the past 10,000 years.
    http://thetruthwins.com/archiv.....and-weaker

    Critic ignores reality of Genetic Entropy – Dr John Sanford – 7 March 2013
    Excerpt: Where are the beneficial mutations in man? It is very well documented that there are thousands of deleterious Mendelian mutations accumulating in the human gene pool, even though there is strong selection against such mutations. Yet such easily recognized deleterious mutations are just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of deleterious mutations will not display any clear phenotype at all. There is a very high rate of visible birth defects, all of which appear deleterious. Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Why are no beneficial birth anomalies being seen? This is not just a matter of identifying positive changes. If there are so many beneficial mutations happening in the human population, selection should very effectively amplify them. They should be popping up virtually everywhere. They should be much more common than genetic pathologies. Where are they? European adult lactose tolerance appears to be due to a broken lactase promoter [see Can’t drink milk? You’re ‘normal’! Ed.].
    African resistance to malaria is due to a broken hemoglobin protein [see Sickle-cell disease. Also, immunity of an estimated 20% of western Europeans to HIV infection is due to a broken chemokine receptor—see CCR5-delta32: a very beneficial mutation. Ed.] Beneficials happen, but generally they are loss-of-function mutations, and even then they are very rare!
    http://creation.com/genetic-entropy

    The evidence for the detrimental nature of mutations in humans is overwhelming for scientists have already cited over 100,000 mutational disorders.

    Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design – Pg. 57 By John C. Avise
    Excerpt: “Another compilation of gene lesions responsible for inherited diseases is the web-based Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). Recent versions of HGMD describe more than 75,000 different disease causing mutations identified to date in Homo-sapiens.”

    I went to the mutation database website cited by John Avise and found:

    Mutation total (as of Nov. 20, 2015) – 174,999
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

    That is certainly not good from the evolutionary standpoint!

    Also see Mendel’s Accountant – Sanford

    Also of note:

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....53881.html

  20. 20
    Box says:

    WD400: Devolution is not a useful (or even really meaningful) term.

    The same goes for “natural selection”.

    And then there are a host of terms that are not “really meaningful” terms under naturalism. Allow me to name a few …

    Specifically wrt biology: “function”, “life”, “organism” and so forth.
    In a broader context: “person”, “freedom”, “rationality”, “consciousness”, “truth”, “free will”, “responsibility” , “morality” and so forth.

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    I honestly don’t know what you’re on about.

    I love it when wd400 plays dumb.

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Another perfect example of what happens when someone who knows nothing about biology…tries to talk about biology.

    Says AC, who doesn’t know what an enzyme is and denies the existence of peptidyltransferase. Hint: Look it up AC.

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Sorry news, but to talk about biology (which is what you guys often try to do here) you need to learn its language.

    You’re killing us.

  22. 22
    Daniel King says:

    Mung:

    You’re killing us.

    It’s too late for that.

  23. 23
    Robert Byers says:

    Good thread.
    I would tell everyone this is common. Always they find insects etc that lose sight and colour in caves while relatives live outside the same caves with sight and colour. One should presume its hugh numbers of examples. Nobody really bothers to look in obscure caves and so like this new species they only appear these days.
    YES constantly they have examples of sightless insects getting back their sight.
    SO they say a lucky mutation created the sightless ones and lucky mutations suddenly pop up to bring back the sight in the LAB.
    HMMM. Is it possible there is another trigger and not chance mutations.
    To say these insects keep genes with sight for millions of years and sudden;y poof they kick in as needed seems unlikely.
    Sightless insects are not darwins friends.

    If there are better ideas of mechanisms going on in nature then these cave critters might show it.
    DO ID thinkers say these creatures got back the sight because of mutations johnny on the spot.

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