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At Gizmodo, of all places: A convergent evolution slide show

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Featuring six mammals that have body parts we would be more likely to associate with distant life forms:

Mammals have a pretty basic blueprint. Among other things, we give birth to live young, we’re warm-blooded, and, perhaps most obviously, we all have hair. (Yes, even dolphins.) But in the churn of natural selection, some mammals ended up with appendages that look like they should be found on a reptile, bird, or insect. That’s convergent evolution for you: Why should reptiles be the only ones to enjoy the protection of scales, or birds the benefits of webbed feet? This list is comprised of mammals who have clearly been taking pages from other playbooks.

Isaac Schultz, “6 Mammal Body Parts That Look Like They Were Stolen From Other Animals” at Gizmodo

But wait. “Natural selection,” as usually understood, assumes ancestor-descendant relationships. That’s the point of it. If mammals “have clearly been taking pages from other play books,” how exactly, were they able to do so?

Here’s an item from 2015 on the prevalence of convergent evolution: Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible?

And, as I’ve noted before, the welter of data coming back from paleontology, genome mapping, and other studies are changing paleontology from a discipline dependent on grand theories to one more like human history, dependent on identified facts.

A century or so ago, British anatomist St. George Mivart noted that Darwin’s theory of evolution “does not harmonize with closely similar structures of diverse origin” (convergent evolution). There is more evidence for Mivart’s doubts now than ever.

According to current Darwinian evolutionary theory, each gain in information is the result of a great many tiny, modest gains in fitness over millions or billions of years, due to natural selection acting on random mutations. The resulting solutions should then follow inheritance laws, in the sense that the more similar life forms are according to biological classifications, the more similar their genome map should be.

That just did not work out. Different species can have surprisingly similar genes. For example, kangaroos are marsupial mammals, not placentals. Yet their genes are close to humans. Researchers: “We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not.”

Kangaroos? Shark and human proteins, meanwhile, are also “stunningly similar.” Indeed, sharks are genetically closer to humans than they are to aquarium zebrafish. Researchers: “We were very surprised… “

Sharks? But does all this not raise a serious question? The popular science literature claims that a near identity between the human and chimpanzee genome is irrefutable evidence of common descent. Why then do we hear so little about any of these findings, which muddy the waters? Why are science writers not even curious?

There is also the question of how easily a life form can “evolve” a complex solution to a difficult problem. Birds are said to have evolved ultraviolet vision at least eight times.

Similarly, whether large bird and mammal brains arise from common descent or convergent evolution is actually uncertain. Two distantly related groups of reptiles are thought to have given rise to mammals and birds, both featuring a much higher brain to body weight ratio than in their ancestors. Paleontologist R. Glenn Northcutt writes that the matter is “contentious and unresolved,” because brains rarely fossilize.

It’s not just mammals and birds. Two different species of deadly sea snake, with “separate evolutions,” were found to be identical. Dolphins and insects, we are told, share components of a hearing system.

The smartest invertebrates, the molluscs (including squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish), seem to have evolved brains four times. From one study we learn, “The new findings expand a growing body of evidence that in very different groups of animals — and mammals, for instance — central nervous systems evolved not once, but several times, in parallel.”

Cambridge paleontologist Simon Conway Morris’s Map of Life website provides many other examples of convergence, listing, for example, the convergent evolution of foul smelling plants (“Love me, I stink”), convergence in sex (love-darts), eyes (camera-style eyes in jellyfish), agriculture (in ants) or gliding (in lizards and mammals).

Convergent evolution is evidence that evolution can happen. But the Darwinian model does not seem to be the right one. The life forms appear to be converging on a common goal.

It’s a good thing some science writers are at last becoming curious.

Here’s the starnosed mole, featured in the slideshow and probably the one that reminds one, sort of, of an insect:

See also: Reformed New Scientist: Covering all the ways evolution can happen and treating Darwinism with… a certain caution.

Of course convergent evolution doesn't cast any doubt on universal common descent! Nothing does. There isn't any known materialistic mechanisms capable of producing the diversity of life and yet that hasn't prevented the mechanistic scenario from being the accepted paradigm. There is an evolutionary advantage for humans to fly and yet we are grounded. Horses? Great fliers in the literature with an obvious evolutionary advantage. Yet remain firmly grounded IRL. ET
Bob O'H few notes: convergent (repeated) evolution is an ultimate proof, that whole Darwinian theory of random mutations is a huge joke. It surprises me, how easily you talk about independent /repeated evolution of wings/powered flight. There is not a single scientific evidence how wings, any wings ever evolved. I am a mechanical engineer, so i pretty interested to learn how wings evolved. Of course, powered flight is not only about wings, but i don't want to bother you with engineering details, you Darwinists, non-engineers don't realize how complex this topic is. Also, you forgot to mention flying insects. The problem with flying insects is, that it doesnt have wings but rotors. E.g. Mosquitos wing flapping frequency varies from 200-800 flaps/second. Those wings are rotors, two perfectly synchronized rotors. You know why these wings need to be synchronized? I would like to understand, how biologists imagine the evolution of insects wings, these extreme flapping frequency ... When i switch off my brain, and use Darwinian fantasy, I can imagine (more or less) how mammals wings might have evolved, e.g. by sliding ... but i can't imagine, how two perfectly synchronized rotors evolve (by random mutations) ... i just can't.... of course, nobody knows, ...actually, nobody knows how insects evolved in the first place .... also humming bird is worth mentioning when talking about rotors instead of wings... Biologists believe in miracles.... You parroting this non-sense that wings evolved because it had an evolutionary advantage ... i run a blog on convergent evolution. I have posted an article, that insects after it evolved wings, then the wings got lost in 1000 independent cases, in various unrelated insect-lineages... here you go: https://stuffhappens.info/repeated-evolution-ability-to-fly-lost-in-the-vast-majority-of-insect-orders-multiple-times/ PS: and this is my favorite Darwinian non-sense in regards to wings ...look at this mainstream article: "Have wings come, gone and come again? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12781152/ You guys really believe in miracles.... martin_r
hnorman42 -
But does [convergence] cast doubt on common descent altogether?
No it doesn't. The phenotype (e.g. flight) might evolve several times, but that just means that there was an evolutionary advantage to flight. In fact, if you look at the details of convergence, they are different. e.g. pterosaurs, bat and bird wings are different from each other, but within each group their wings are similar. Bob O'H
There's a point I've been wondering about for a long time. I know that convergence fits a guided model of evolution better than a Darwinian model does. But does it cast doubt on common descent altogether? Or universal common descent? Or is it neutral with respect to these possibilities? What are the precise implications? hnorman42
Some of these didn't need to be imported. Humans have short webs between our digits, and sometimes the gene makes full webs. The mandrill and mole noses could be nasal turbinates mounted outside instead of inside. But the platypus bill can't be explained this way. polistra

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