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Beetles evolved as ant mimics a dozen times in “an astonishingly predictable way”

beetle that eats the ants’ offspring in front, ant behind/Taku Shimada

From ScienceDaily:

Marauding across the tropical forest floor, aggressive army ant colonies harbor hidden enemies within their ranks. The impostors look and smell like army ants, march with the ants, and even groom the ants. But far from being altruistic nest-mates, these creatures are parasitic beetles, engaged in a game of deception. Through dramatic changes in body shape, behavior, and pheromone chemistry, the beetles gain their hostile hosts’ acceptance, duping the ants so they can feast on the colony brood.

This phenomenon did not evolve just once. Instead, these beetles arose at least a dozen separate times from non-ant-like ancestors. This discovery, published March 9 in Current Biology, provides evidence that evolution has the capacity to repeat itself in an astonishingly predictable way. Paper. (public access) – Maruyama and Parker. Deep-time convergence in rove beetle symbionts of army ants. Current Biology, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.02.030More.

Evolution repeats itself in an “astonishingly predictable way”? Whatever happened to “if the tape of life were rewound… Never mind, take a deep breath and keep reciting Darwin’s name…

See also: [Convergent evolution of crocodile and dolphin skull shapes The authors don’t mention this but the find means — according to Darwinian theory — that vast numbers of complexities evolved independently twice, by natural selection acting on random mutation. Take that in and we see why there is a problem with Darwinism as “evolution,” generally.


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

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