has a within as well as a without,
taking place on both
the physical and psychic levels."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
"There are two
theories of evolution. There is
the genuine scientific theory; and there is the talk-radio pretend version,
designed not to enlighten but to
deceive and enrage." - Edward Humes
not actually caused by man; he only
exposes organic beings to new conditions of life, and then
nature acts on the
organization and causes it to vary.
Man can and does select the
variations given to him by nature, and thus accumulates them in the desired
Mankind thus adapts
animals and plants for his own benefit or pleasure.
Mankind may do
this methodically, or he may do it subconsciously by
preserving the individuals most
useful or pleasing to him without any intention of altering the
It is certain that he can largely influence the character of
a breed by selecting, in
each successive generation, individual differences so slight as to be
inappreciable except by an educated eye.
subconscious process of
selection has been the great agency in the formation of the most distinct and
useful domestic breeds.
That many breeds produced by man have to a
large extent the character of natural species, is shown by the inextricable
doubts whether many of them are varieties or
There is no reason why the principles which have acted so
efficiently under domestication should not have acted under nature.
the survival of favored individuals
and races, during the constantly recurrent struggle for existence, we see a
powerful and ever acting form of selection.
The struggle for existence
inevitably follows from the high geometrical ratio of increase which is common
to all organic beings.
This high rate of increase is proved by
calculation, by the rapid increase
of many animals and plants during a succession of peculiar seasons, and when
naturalized in new countries.
individuals are born than can possibly survive.
A grain on the balance may determine
which individuals shall live, and which shall die, which variety or species
shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become
As the individuals of the
same species come in all regards into the closest competition with each other,
the struggle will generally be most severe between them; it will be almost
equally severe between the varieties of the same species, and next in severity
between the species of the same genus.
On the other hand the struggle
will often be severe between beings remote in the scale of nature.
slightest advantage in certain individuals, at any age or during any season,
over those with which they come into competition, or better adaptation in
however slight a degree to the surrounding physical conditions, will, in the
long run, turn the balance.
With animals having separate sexes,
there will be in most cases a struggle
between the males for the possession of the females.
vigorous males, or those which have
most successfully struggled with their conditions of life, will generally
leave most progeny.
Success will often depend on the males having
special weapons, or means of defense, or
charms; and a slight advantage will lead to victory.
As geology plainly proclaims that each land has undergone
great physical changes, we might have expected to find that organic beings have
varied under nature, in the same way as they have varied under domestication.
Variabilty in nature can only be explained by natural
How Small Genetic Differences Give Rise to Racial
Microbial diversity drives multifunctionality in terrestrial
Man, though acting on external characters alone and
often capriciously, can produce within a short period a great result by adding
up mere individual differences in his
domestic productions; and
everyone admits that species present
Besides such differences,
all naturalists admit that natural
varieties exist, which are considered sufficiently distinct to be worthy of
record in systematic works.
No one has drawn any clear distinction
between individual differences and
slight varieties; or between more plainly marked varieties and sub-species
separate continents, and on different parts of the same continent when
divided by barriers of any category, and
on outlying islands, what a
multitude of forms exist, which some experienced
naturalists rank as varieties, others
as geographical races or
sub-species, and others
as distinct, though closely
If then, animals
and plants do vary, let it be ever so slightly or slowly, why should not
variations or individual differences, which are in any way beneficial, be
preserved and accumulated through natural selection, or the
survival of the fittest?
If man can by patience
select variations useful to him, why, under changing and complex conditions of
life, should not variations useful to nature's living products often arise, and
be preserved or selected?
What limit can be put to this power, acting
during long ages and rigidly scrutinizing the whole structure, and habits of
each creature, - favoring the good and rejecting the bad?
I can see no
limit to this power, in slowly and beautifully adapting each form to the most
complex relations of life.
The theory of natural selection, even if we
look no farther than this, appears to be in
the highest degree
As each species tends by its geometrical rate of
reproduction to increase inordinately in number; and as the modified
descendants of each species will be enabled to increase by as much as they
become more diversified in habits and structure, so as to be able to seize on
many and widely different places in the economy of
nature, there will be a constant
tendency in natural selection to preserve the most divergent offspring of any
Hence, during a long continued course of modification, the
slight differences characteristic of varieties of the same species, tend to be
augmented into the greater differences characteristic of the species of the
New and improved varieties
will inevitably supplant and exterminate the older, less improved, and
intermediate varieties; and thus species
are rendered to a large extent defined and distinct(extinct) objects.
Dominant species belonging to
the larger groups within each class tend to give birth to new and dominant
forms; so that each large group tends
to become still larger, and
at the same time more
divergent in character.
As all groups cannot thus go
on increasing in size, for the Earth would not hold them, the more dominant
groups beat the less dominant.
This tendency in the
large groups to go on increasing in
size and diverging in character, together with
the inevitable contingency of
much extinction, explains the arrangement of all the forms of life in
groups subordinate to groups, all within a few great classes, which has
prevailed throughout time.
We can to a certain extent understand how it
is that there is so much beauty throughout
nature; this may be largely attributed to the agency of selection.
That beauty, according to our sense of it, is not universal, must be
admitted by everyone who will look at some
venomous snakes, at some
fishes, and at
certain hideous bats with a distorted
resemblance to the human face.
Sexual selection has given the most brilliant
colors, elegant patterns, and other ornaments to the males, and sometimes
to both sexes, of many birds, butterflies, and other animals.
birds it has often rendered the voice of the male musical to the female, as
well as to our ears.
fruit have been rendered conspicuous by
brilliant colors in contrast with the green foliage, in order that the
flowers may be easily seen, visited,
and fertilized by insects, and the
seeds disseminated by
How it comes that certain colors,
sounds, and forms should give pleasure to
man and the lower animals, - that is, how the sense
of beauty in its simplest form was first acquired, -
we do not know any more than how
certain odors and flavors were first rendered agreeable."
hardly be supposed that a false theory would explain, in a satisfactory manner
as does the theory of natural selection, the reason all living things have much
in common, in their chemical composition, their
cellular structure, their laws
of growth, and their liability
to injurious influences.
It has recently been objected that this is
an unsafe method of arguing; but it is a method used in judging of the common
events of life, and has often been used by
the greatest natural
theory of light has thus been arrived at; and
the belief in the revolution
of the Earth on its own axis was until lately supported by hardly any
It is no valid
objection that science as yet throws no light on to the far higher problem of
the essence or origin of life.
We no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks
at a ship, as something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard
every production of nature as one which has had a long
history; when we
contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many
contrivances, each useful to the possessor, in the same way as
any great mechanical invention is the
summing up of the labor, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of
numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, how far more
interesting does the study of natural history become!
It is interesting
to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with
birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with
worms crawling through the damp earth, and
to reflect that these
elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon
each other in so complex a manner, have
all been produced by Law acting around us.
There is grandeur in this
view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the
Creator into a few forms or into one; and
that, whilst this Earth has gone cycling on according to
the fixed law of gravity, from so
simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been,
and are being, evolved.
I see no good reason why the
views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone.
It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions
as the "plan of creation," "unity of design," etc., and to think that we give an
explanation when we only restate a fact.
eminent scientists and
theologians who, while accepting the
established findings of science, from the big bang to the evolution of our species,
also perceive creative spirit and
within themselves to the extent that they cannot rule out an ultimate
divine energy and
presence within everything that exists." - Bill McAuliffe
the primate hand
Versatility is the hallmark of
the primate hand.
With minor variations between species, thirty-five
joints accommodate the palm and fingers to branches and objects of all sizes,
shapes, and orientations.
Six layers of muscles produce movements that
propel the animals and effect gripping patterns used in maintaining feeding and
resting positions, securing an infant's hold on its mother, removing parasites
from the fur, catching insects, plucking fruits, extracting foods from their
source, and positioning objects for
tactile, olfactory, and visual scrutiny.
constraints on mobility stabilize joints in regions that are habitually exposed
to stresses during these positional and manipulatory activities.
locations and configurations of these constraints vary considerably among
species, as do the relative proportions of hand segments, reflecting the
diversity of their locomotor and feeding patterns.
The key to the
versatility of primate hands is to be found in the nature of the thumb and the
The thumb is structurally and functionally differentiated
from the rest of the fingers.
The tips of all five digits are
relatively broad, with moist, ridged, sensitive palmar pads that are supported
The advantages of a
grasping hand are most apparent in the levels of the
forest where vines, bushes, and the
slender upper and outer branches of the canopy offer the least purchase to a
paw with claws on the fingertips.
Differentiation of the thumb provides
the ability for prehension of objects by
variety and skill of prehensile activities depend upon the
details of joint structure, the relative length
of the thumb and fingers, the sensory nerve supply to the distal digital pads,
and the motor control of hand movements by the
the human hand
Pounding with hand-held hammer
stones has possibly been the tool-using and tool-making activity with the
greatest frequency and antiquity in hominid evolution.
It is an activity
which directs large, repetitive forces toward the central region of the palm.
Production of forceful and accurate blows by a hand-held stone requires
control of the hammer stone by firm precision grips which assure both retention
of the stone in the hand and fine adjustments in its orientation by the thumb
When a mammal is motivated to learn, the brain responds
Repetitious hand movements actually change brain structure.
As brain maps grow larger individual
neurons get more efficient in two stages.
individual neurons within
the map grow and became more efficient.
Progressively fewer neurons
are required to perform the task as the brain
Stabilization of objects that are held in the other hand
and pounded by hammer stones in the production of tools also requires firm
precision grips and the ability to vary the orientation of the stone.
The central region of the modern human palm is stabilized, buttressed,
and protected against intrinsic and extrinsic forces associated with the grasp
and manipulation of stones in pounding by robust bones and a fat-pad.
secure grasp and controlled maneuvering of stones by the thumb, fingers, and
palm are facilitated by a unique pattern of hand proportions and
joint-and-muscle configurations that permit cupping of the hand and the
formation of a wide variety of grips.
The proportionately long thumb
and short fingers with broad fingertip pads are able to maneuver the stones and
to hold them firmly, exploiting the leverage of the fingers, or bracing the
stones against the palm.
The unique arrangement of intrinsic
musculature and orientation of joints along the second, third, and fifth rays,
favoring rotation of the fingers, allow optimal positioning of the thumb and
fingers for grasping and orienting the stones.
Grips that were found
through experimentation to accommodate and control the stones most comfortably
and effectively involved primarily the thumb, index, and third fingers.
These included the pad-to-side and three-jaw-chuck thumb/finger grips
and extensions of these grips that incorporate the palm as a passive buttress.
The three-jaw-chuck thumb/finger grip is most effective both for
wielding hammer stones and for throwing stones.
Stones of about 500
grams, comparable in size to tennis balls, are held by the thumb, index, and
third fingers, frequently against the side of the flexed fourth finger which in
turn is buttressed by the flexed fifth finger as a support.
The tip of
the thumb and index and third fingertips control the orientation of the stone
and keep it away from the palm, so that the leverage of these rays is exploited
in propelling the stone.
The pressure and leverage of these rays are
important factors in controlling the rotation and speed of an object thrown by
The modern human hand structure of the joints along the fifth
ray probably contributes to the effectiveness of the finger/active-palm squeeze
grip, which employs all the fingers and active convergence of the palm around a
cylindrical tool, such as an antler hammer, to secure it, so that the tool
functions as an extension of the hand and/or arm.
The use of small
modern tools such as needles and pencils involves the rotation and
translation of objects by
the pads of the fingertips opposed to the tip of the thumb pad, exploiting a
unique human compartmentalization of
"We could bomb Afghanistan back into the Stone
Age, but what
would that set them back, fifteen minutes?" - Argus
a mutant primate with a strange DNA
When one looks at the chromosomes of humans
and the living great apes (orangutan, gorilla, and
chimpanzee), it is immediately
apparent that there is a great deal of similarity between the number and
overall appearance of the chromosomes across the four different species.
There are differences but the overall similarity is striking.
The following observations can be made about similarities and
differences among the four species.
The great apes have 24 pairs of
chromosomes while humans have only 23 pairs.
Except for differences in
non genetic heterochromatin, chromosomes 6, 13, 19, 21, 22, and X have
identical banding patterns in all four species.
Chromosomes 3, 11, 14,
15, 18, 20, and Y look the same in three of the four species (those three being
gorilla, chimps, and humans), and chromosomes 1, 2p, 2q, 5, 7 - 10, 12, and 16
are alike in two species.
Chromosomes 4 and 17 are different among all
Most of the chromosomal differences among the four species
involve inversions - localities on the chromosome that have been inverted, or
swapped end for end. This is a relatively common occurrence among many species,
and has been documented in humans. An inversion usually does not reduce
Other types of rearrangements include a few translocations
(parts swapped among the chromosomes), and the presence or absence of nucleolar
organizers. All of these differences can be observed to be occurring in modern
The largest single chromosomal rearrangement among the
four species is the unique number of chromosomes (23 pairs) found in humans as
opposed to the great apes (24 pairs).
There are two potential
naturalistic explanations for the
difference in chromosome numbers - either a fusion of two separate chromosomes
occurred in the human line, or a fission of a chromosome occurred among the
The evidence favors a fusion event in the
The chromosomes were apparently joined end to end, and the
ends of chromosomes (called the telomere ) have a distinctive structure from
the rest of the chromosome.
Evidence suggests that the vicinity of
chromosome 2 where the fusion is expected to occur, we see first sequences that
are characteristic of the pre-telomeric region, then a section of telomeric
sequences, and then another section of pre-telomeric sequences.
telomeric section, it is observed that there is a point where instead of being
arranged head to tail, the telomeric repeats suddenly reverse direction -
evidence of fusion.
In chromosomes that have been fused we should see
evidence of two centromeres, the distinctive central part of the chromosome.
Evidence of fusion exists as remnants of the 2p and 2q centromeres
Some may raise the objection that if the fusion was a
naturalistic event, how could the first human ancestor with the fusion have
We have all heard that the horse and the donkey
produce an infertile mule in crossing
because of a different number of chromosomes in the two species.
Variations in chromosome number are known to occur in many different
animal species, and although they sometimes seem to lead to reduced fertility,
this is often not the case.
The last remaining species of wild horse,
Przewalski's (sha-val-skis) Wild Horse has 66 chromosomes while the
domesticated horse has 64 chromosomes. Despite this difference in chromosome
number, Przewalski's Wild Horse and the domesticated horse can be crossed and
do produce fertile offspring which possess 65 chromosomes.
chromosomal rearrangement has recently been discovered, this one shared both by
humans and chimpanzees, but not found in any of the other monkeys or apes that
This rearrangement was the movement of about 100,000 DNA
pairs from human chromosome 1 to the Y chromosome10.
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