Convergent evolution Intelligent Design

Talk about convergent evolution: Lizards evolved for life in trees at least 100 times

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After studying 2600 species:

Sticky toepads have independently evolved in geckos, skinks and Anolis lizards — producing tree acrobats specially adapted to life in the forest canopy. Scientists have long considered sticky toepads an ‘evolutionary key innovation’ that allow arboreal lizards to interact with the environment in ways that many padless lizards cannot. Yet, some lizards without toepads have adopted the canopy lifestyle, an observation that has puzzled scientists for decades. Biologists Aryeh Miller and James Stroud at Washington University in St. Louis set out to find if lizards with toepads had an evolutionary advantage for life in the trees relative to their padless counterparts. They analyzed data from 2,600 lizard species worldwide and discovered that, while hundreds of different types of lizards have independently evolved arboreal lifestyles, species that possessed sticky toepads prevailed.

Washington University in St. Louis, “Sticky toes unlock life in the trees” at ScienceDaily (August 5, 2021)

Now here is where it gets interesting:

Miller, who led the analysis, is the first to find that species have evolved for specialized life in trees at least 100 times in thousands of lizards. In other words, it is evolutionarily easy for a lizard to become a tree lizard.

What’s difficult is sticking around (pun intended!). Toepads don’t evolve until after lizards get into the trees, not before. And padless lizards will leave trees at a high frequency — much higher than padbearing lizards.

“There are hundreds of lizards living in the trees, but over evolutionary time many of those species end up leaving for life on the ground because, presumably, they interact with these padded lizards that have a greater advantage,” Stroud said.

Washington University in St. Louis, “Sticky toes unlock life in the trees” at ScienceDaily (August 5, 2021)

Okay, now here’s a question: How, exactly, does the tree lizard “evolve” toe pads just because they would be convenient? It’s not self-evident. Many lizards did not but others did. As Michael Behe would ask, “How, exactly?”

Convergent evolution is often portrayed as a friend to Darwinism but it really isn’t. Not when we look closely at what is being said. No “how exactly.” “Natural selection” is often treated as a magic concept and we aren’t supposed to notice that.

The paper is closed access.

See also: Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible?

2 Replies to “Talk about convergent evolution: Lizards evolved for life in trees at least 100 times

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Okay, now here’s a question: How, exactly, does the tree lizard “evolve” toe pads just because they would be convenient? It’s not self-evident. Many lizards did not but others did.

    Convergent evolution is often portrayed as a friend to Darwinism but it really isn’t. Not when we look closely at what is being said. No “how exactly.” “Natural selection” is often treated as a magic concept and we aren’t supposed to notice that.

    Exactly. Mutations and selection are the magic that creates exactly the same features in different species. Quoting them …

    In other words, it is evolutionarily easy for a lizard to become a tree lizard.

    It’s not science, it’s just storytelling.

    As Michael Behe would ask, “How, exactly?”

    Right because mutations are random and mostly neutral and deleterious, the environment is random creating random food supplies, other features in the organism and competitive environment is continually changing – and the tree lizards clearly didn’t need to be in the trees because they survived well on the ground.
    So there are a half a dozen or more random variables to sort through, no real need for the sticky-pads to evolve once, and “at least 100 times” this has to be accounted for as independent events. All of those events producing sticky toepads (like Post-Its, not too sticky and not too unsticky).

    A huge research project could be done just sorting out the lies and impossibility of this evolutionary fairy tale. But nobody can do it because there’s no money or interest to pursue such a thing. The academy is happy enough with the belief in magic. That pays the bills. The public seems to like it – they can imagine that “nature” just causes incredible things to occur whenever the need or interest arises.

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    What a conundrum! What to do when the data just does not support the evolutionary hypothesis?

    Just close your eyes and believe!

    But that’s unscientific you say.

    On the contrary. It IS the only scientific option because your faith is placed in natural processes as opposed to unscientific stuff.

    Anyway, faith – in spite of the data – is their only option – unless you are willing to allow the data to falsify the treasured theory/worldview. And we all know that is NOT an option so quit your whining and just shut up and believe!

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