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For daddy longlegs, evolution never happened, it seems

Thumbnail for version as of 22:23, 19 September 2005

In “Fossil shows daddy longlegs remain unchanged” (Jennifer Welsh, MSNBC, August 23, 2011), we learn: “Scientists amazed 3-D images show harvestmen nearly still same after 300 million years”:

“It is absolutely remarkable how little (that) harvestmen have changed in appearance since before the dinosaurs,” study researcher Russell Garwood, of Imperial College London, said in a statement. “If you went out into the garden and found one of these creatures today, it would be like holding a little bit of prehistory in your hands.”

True, but one can say that of other species too. Lots of them. Some way more impressive.

The two species fell into the Dyspnoi and Eupnoi suborders of harvestmen. Their physical appearance suggests they evolved from a common ancestor about 305 million years ago, the researchers said. This data support previous genetic studies of past harvestmen.

The researchers admit they don’t know why this arachnid never changed much in all that time.

Evolutionary biologists have been engaged in defending Darwin for so long that most of the picture of evolution is missing – because most of evolution isn’t really about Darwin or his theory.

They are trying to fit the system into Darwin’s frame. Thus, what should not be a surprise is forever a surprise.

There are three related processes of life: Evolution, stasis (nothing happens for maybe a hundred million or oh, maybe a billion years), and extinction. When the Darwin bores finally die off, there is a lot of work to do understanding them.

Here are five notable examples of stasis (among many):

Spider in amber is 49 million-year-old member of living genus

“If it ain’t broke … ” Cricket shows no change in 100 million years.

Living fossil eel survives from 200 million years ago.

Stasis in hemichordate for a half billion years …

800 million year old shelled fossil found in Yukon, Canada

FWIW It doesn't trigger a warning on my anti-virus bornagain77
thanks cantor bornagain77
http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/fsslrc01.html FWIW: The above linked triggered a warning from my Avast anti-virus. cantor
I think this all points out a very legitimate question to ask of Elizabeth Liddle: what has turned off neutral drift for 300 my? The answer has to be: NS. And this, of course, points out exactly what NS does---it is a conservative force, not a creative force. That is, it eliminates 'mistakes'. And 'mistakes' are, indeed, environment sensitive; which means 'adaptation' can, and does, happen. But to ascribe 'creative' power to that which eliminates 'mistakes' is simply to rely on an infinite number of mistakes being available. But there's a limit. It's called "genetic load", and a whole literature revolves around it. (Haldane's Dilemna, e.g.) IOW, NS can only be 'creative' based on particular probabilities and replicational resources, with the first being necessarily low, and the second being necessarily high. Yet, this isn't seen. If we did, then the neutral theory would need not be invoked. So, in sum, we have NS acting, clearly, as a 'conservative' force, while we also see incredible amounts of polymorphisms present in genomes, which can only mean that positive selection acts in a very limited way (due to mutational load problems). So, NS is basically a constraining power. (Again, this is why the Neutral Theory is so routinely invoked as a generative force.) And, yet, for 300 my, neutral drift has been held in check. So, what, exactly, 'generates' new forms? PaV
That's a spider, not a harvestman. Also, if you use CC2 or CC3 images from Wikipedia you have to credit the user and make sure the same licence is displayed somewhere on your work. wd400
note: Stasis in Harvestmen challenges Darwinism - David tyler http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/literature/2011/08/24/stasis_in_harvestmen_challenges_darwinis bornagain77
free pic at Wikipedia. Same basic idea. Thanks for clariff. News
It might be worth clarifying that in the UK, harvestmen are quite different from daddy-long-legs! From the press release: "In parts of the USA harvestmen are known as daddy-long-legs, the nickname given to craneflies in the UK (craneflies are members of the Diptera, the scientific name for the flies in all their forms)." Source here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2011/august/ancient-harvestmen-in-3d-reveals-early-evolution102725.html David Tyler
Cool! notes: Here is a page of quotes by leading paleontologists on the true state of the fossil record: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=15dxL40Ff6kI2o6hs8SAbfNiGj1hEOE1QHhf1hQmT2Yg Here are four more pages of quotes, by leading experts, on the fossil record here: Creation/Evolution Quotes: Fossil Record #1 - Stephen E. Jones http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/fsslrc01.html === Ancient Fossils That Have Not Changed For Millions Of Years - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4113820 bornagain77

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