“We have found a mathematical rule that can objectively evaluate the evolution of different parts of the body,” says lead-author Professor Jukka Jernvall University of Helsinki, Finland.
But wait! Don’t evolutionary biologists also say that evolution has no goal, and can’t be used to make predictions? Isn’t that “no goal” thing precisely what Brit psychs want to cram down kiddies’ throats?
“In this context, the new study also explains why we are now losing our wisdom teeth–it’s simply a pattern that was already established at the beginning of our family tree,” says Jernvall.
So long as you know the species, the model can precisely describe tooth development and predict the size of teeth in the dental arch based on a single tooth.
Thus the formula could be used to answer important questions about our own evolutionary history.
But that implies some kind of a law, doesn’t it? Or does it? How have claims about laws of evolution fared in the past?
See, for example, Dollo’s Law. Evolutionary biologists would like to retire the claim that a trait, once lost, can never be regained (Dollo) because it’s not true, but the faithful still believe.
For example, the shape of our vertebrae are closely linked to our upright gait, just like the shape of our fingers are associated with our precision grip, which opened the way for us to make and use precision tools.
But wait; didn’t we just hear elsewhere that our upright gait was a bad hack? Even though it is pretty much the only way to consistently and efficiently use tools?
Oh heavens. Just keep talking, guys. We got people taking notes.
See also: Human origins: The war of trivial explanations
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