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Flesh420

Question about evolution

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For the last year I've wondered why that supposedly evolution is the accepted 'theory' of how we came to be, yet there's no other animal on the planet that evolved from something and still exists beside its counter-part. We live beside chimps, but birds do not exist beside dinosaurs. So what gives? I'm not very educated on the subject and was wondering if anyone greater versed in such knowledge would know the answer... So why are chimps still around if we evolved from them? Are there any examples other than us of something existing beside what it evolved from?

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Dogs are evolved wolves. Evolution doesn't necessarily mean extinction of the previous species, nor does it imply the next step is better; just more adapted to current living conditions, or at least trying to be.

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Case closed. Aren't we responsible for dogs though? I always thought dogs came to be because of humans.

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Monkeys could have devolved from us. Monkeys + Dogs = Baboons. Them things is fierce.

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Selective breeding is just another type of natural selection. We breed desired traits into lines of dogs. Undesired traits are bred out. Some dogs are bred to work; some are bred to be fashion accessories.

As for your other question: natural selection is an ongoing process. It doesn't seem to apply to us because we change our environment to suit us. However, you can still see some effects of natural selection with human breeds. Different skeletal structure, musculature and melanin levels between races indicate an adaptation to different environments.

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Flesh420 said:

there's no other animal on the planet that evolved from something and still exists beside its counter-part.

Wrong. Everything lives beside its counterpart. Some things are just more closely related, like chimps and humans. There are more examples, like different bird species, or whales and dolphins, or snakes and lizards. Birds might all look alike to you, but there are huge differences between them that make it impossible for them to interbreed, and they are therefor different species. I hope that's clear.

Flesh420 said:

So why are chimps still around if we evolved from them?

That's not how evolution works. Things don't strive to become a "level up" from their predecessors. They only change and split into different branches of life. Chimps are just as evolved as humans. So is moss, for that matter. The ancestor of both chimps and humans is long dead, and our species have been evolving along different paths ever since we split up. There were no chimps when we split up with chimps. There was only the common ancestor. Do you understand?

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Flesh420 said:

For the last year I've wondered why that supposedly evolution is the accepted 'theory' of how we came to be, yet there's no other animal on the planet that evolved from something and still exists beside its counter-part.

Evolution is a continual process of change. Humans and chimps share a common ancestor but we did not evolve from chimps. The ancestors we evolved from do not exist any more.

It's kind of obvious when you think about it. Suppose a population of chimps existed in a particular environment for a million years. Random mutations would mean that the population would change over time - there's nothing genetically "tying them" to that original form. There's also the fact that evolution brings adaptation to the environment in which the organism lives, and environments change over time. We should expect that after a million years they would be very different; very few complex organisms exist that long without significant changes.

Also, remember that the concept of species is really just a human invention to try to explain and make sense of what we observe. When we say "chimps" we're referring to a population of animals that we observe today. When we say "neanderthals" we're referring to a population of human-like animals that existed at a particular period in the past. In reality it's a continual process of change and species are just names or markers to describe what we encounter.

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Flesh420 said:

but birds do not exist beside dinosaurs.

Of course they don't now, but they did. For a very long time in fact. Modern bird clades, not bird-like dinosaurs, fully diverged from their therapod ancestors 140 mya in the mid jurassic. The truth is that birds coexisted with dinosaurs longer than they haven't.

Basically for the 1000000th time: biological evolution is not pokemon so STOP IT ALREADY.

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Also, it bears repeating: birds are dinosaurs. Genetically they descended down the same line.

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fraggle said:

Also, it bears repeating: birds are dinosaurs. Genetically they descended down the same line.

A very particular early therapod line, yes. But honestly I find the designation pointlessly confusing and really fucking silly. Felines are reptiles because they are of reptilian ancestry and share many things in common with their ancestral stock and also with extant reptiles. True, yes, but silly enough.

I think it is important to make certain delineations in how we look at things like this because it can kind of mislead people into thinking as the op does.

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Flesh420 said:

yet there's no other animal on the planet that evolved from something and still exists beside its counter-part.


Thanks for the laugh.

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Dumb shit like this is Exhibit A in the ongoing argument that our education system is failing us. Look, Flesh420, I'm sure you're a great guy, but I don't know where in the hell you learned about evolution or why you seem to know so little about it. I won't address the individual arguments, as they've already been settled by others in the thread, but seriously - were you just too busy getting stoned to bother showing up for high school biology or what? If you haven't taken high school biology, my apologies, but if I find out you somehow managed to obtain a diploma and still are asking these dumb questions, I'ma hafta eat it or something.

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geekmarine said:

<rant half blaming Flesh420>


The internet often provides horror stories of American public schools teaching evolution very poorly or not at all. Then there's the fact that almost zero popular fiction gets it right. It's a little hard to blame Flesh420. At least he's asking questions.

I once took a university class on the history of science where the science-minded among us had to spend a good deal of time filling in the prof on aspects of science so she could teach it better to the arts students. (Don't worry, arts people; you guys were the better writers most of the time.) Evolution and relativity took lots of extra discussion.

it's sad, but I can easily understand why this is hard for so many people. Science education needs to indue a shift in thinking to be effective, and if the people teaching it haven't experienced the same shift they won't do very well.

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Polar bears were brown until one of them was born with a genetic flaw that caused its fur to have no pigment. This new white polar bear was so good at blending in with the snow that it no trouble at all capturing its food. This bear bred and passed its genes on to its offspring. The brown polar bears couldn't compete for food, and so they starved to death. Of course, they didn't go extinct. They just live away from all the snow.

Repeat this about a billion times and there you have evolution. Species don't evolve; populations do.

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Quast said:
Felines are reptiles because they are of reptilian ancestry and share many things in common with their ancestral stock and also with extant reptiles. True, yes, but silly enough.

I knew you weren't from Earth, but you might want to know that here we Terrans don't have cold-blooded, scaly, egg-laying cats like you do.



We do have small beaked and plumed dinosaurs, though. And we humans don't have fur all over, with weird-ass straight bodies, huge lower legs and strange upper legs that don't serve walking purposes, but they say we're mammals just as much as tailed and pouched kangaroos, winged bats or finned dolphins. It's all weird like that here on Earth!

PS: I have this Aliens in Space book (bought it when I was like 10). Always liked that cover.

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Maybe I am being a little unfair, but I mean, I received a public education myself, and the one thing that stuck out in my mind was not that the education was crap, but that a teacher could explain a concept five different times in five different ways, and half the students would fail the exam because they just didn't give a shit. I know there's a lot you could get into with that - socioeconomic factors, upbringing, etc., but it just bothers me that all of the responsibility is shifted onto the schools and no one ever addresses the issue of the students themselves. And even then, people still prefer to blame the schools, refusing to acknowledge anything else going on.

Just saying... I mean, I got a brief introduction to evolution in high school, nothing compared to what I learned in college, but it was a decent groundwork - however, if you were to, say, judge the school by test scores, you probably wouldn't be able to tell evolution was even being taught at all. And in this case, I can say for certain that the teachers aren't to blame. Whatever the underlying cause, ultimately, what I observed was my classmates simply not paying attention, not giving a damn, when all the information was given to them in an easy-to-digest manner.

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I think what people who are confused about evolution need to understand is that it's not a linear progression, whereby one life form transforms into another, leaving the previous behind. It's a complex, branching tree in which some life forms are left behind, while others coexist alongside their successors.

The internal machinery that powers genetics is imperfect. It makes mistakes, and in some cases those mistakes manifest themselves in physical alterations that, by pure coincidence--and very likely not by some sort of awareness or intuition on the part of the DNA--provide a useful advantage to the creature. The advantage makes it more likely for the creature to survive long enough reproduce, whereby the genetic imperfection will likely be passed down. Enough successive generations of creatures exhibiting this advantage will result in a new type of life form that is distinct from the one it originally came from. If you keep this in mind, it's easy to see why in some cases, the original life form might still hang around, while in others, due to competition, it might die out.

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Quast said:

biological evolution is not pokemon so STOP IT ALREADY.


The fact this needs to be stated, and with good reason, saddens me. But, it must be said, I suppose.

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Flesh420 said:

yet there's no other animal on the planet that evolved from something and still exists beside its counter-part.

Bacteria (the metaphoric "primordial slime" that everything else evolved from) have existed on Earth in one form or another for some 3.5 billion years. I dare say they'll still be here long after our extinction.

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geekmarine said:

seriously - were you just too busy getting stoned to bother showing up for high school biology or what? If you haven't taken high school biology, my apologies, but if I find out you somehow managed to obtain a diploma and still are asking these dumb questions, I'ma hafta eat it or something.

This seems excessively harsh to me. I don't think it's helpful to shame people for asking questions.

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The problem is really that evolution may be taught "correctly" in high schools but even then you come away with the wrong impression. I went into college even myself still thinking about it in terms of the classical fallacious species following species model. It wasn't til after I read Darwin myself that I started to understand it's about populations and that species are not an absolute thing but are a rough categorization that we invent for convenience to describe a statistically uniform phenotype.

Part of the problem is that they don't bother to explain it that deeply. The other part of the problem is that the adolescent mind isn't quite fully developed enough in most peoples' cases to get to the full understanding of the concept - or at least, that's my own belief based on how I had to catch onto it fully later in my early adult life.

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Quasar said:

The problem is really that evolution may be taught "correctly" in high schools but even then you come away with the wrong impression. I went into college even myself still thinking about it in terms of the classical fallacious species following species model. It wasn't til after I read Darwin myself that I started to understand it's about populations and that species are not an absolute thing but are a rough categorization that we invent for convenience to describe a statistically uniform phenotype.

Part of the problem is that they don't bother to explain it that deeply. The other part of the problem is that the adolescent mind isn't quite fully developed enough in most peoples' cases to get to the full understanding of the concept - or at least, that's my own belief based on how I had to catch onto it fully later in my early adult life.


Not to mention that if a kid/teenager has been told for the past 10-15 years (and this is reinforced with church attendance, praying...) that we are the pinnacle of God's plan on earth, they're not going to believe a Biology teacher when he/she tells them monkeys are our "cousins".

About evolution not being taught correctly in schools is certainly a major issue, but I think it could be more important to teach teenagers to think logically.When you understand evolution (well, once you understand it doesn't mean "humans come frome apes"), it makes perfect sense. But have you ever tried to explain evolution to someone who is not used to think in a logical way? No matter what approach you take, it's practically impossible. It may be clear what the facts are behind the theory, but it never seem to matter.

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All we need now is someone barging in with "BUT HOW DID THE EYE EVOLVE??????" and crossing their arms as if it was an unanswerable question.

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GreyGhost said:

Bacteria (the metaphoric "primordial slime" that everything else evolved from) have existed on Earth in one form or another for some 3.5 billion years. I dare say they'll still be here long after our extinction.

There are forms of life that aren't descended from bacteria. Like us for instance. This overview may interest you.

Mr. Freeze said:

All we need now is someone barging in with "BUT HOW DID THE EYE EVOLVE??????" and crossing their arms as if it was an unanswerable question.

The answer is "poorly" because presumably we're talking about human eyes.

Turns out human eyes are built backward. "Intelligent design" is God being confused by the Ikea assembly instructions and getting it wrong.

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myk said:

I knew you weren't from Earth, but you might want to know that here we Terrans don't have cold-blooded, scaly, egg-laying cats like you do.

Bah, nothing but slight reproductive and metabolic differences if that. Cats do have eggs after all.

Reptiles are exothermic and require an outside heat source to enjoy life to it's fullest. It is well known that felines also need and enjoy a good basking in the sun just as much as any alligator or chinese water dragon does.

Very few organisms in the world are obligate carnivores, but every feline and most all reptiles are thus. Many species of reptiles eat almost exclusively of insects. I've personally seen on many occasions even house cats stalking, hunting and eating flies, moths, butterflys and attempts at wasps and honey bees.

Reptiles spend much of their waking hours remaining motionless, observing the world around them...felines do this as well, prehaps even moreso.

Reptiles and felines both have sharp teeth and claws...etc

I could really go on and on here, but am I honestly wrong?

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