Innovation and Speciation: whale changes (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 01, 2017, 21:56 (174 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You miss the point. Planning is involved. The small change is in preparation for larger changes to come. Much of my discussion about Darwin is he expected fossil finds which would fill the gaps. They never appeared, but this spinal change may be evidence that some itty-bity steps were taken, not related to immediate improvement.

dhw: I’m afraid I can’t follow your thinking at all. One moment you’re attacking Darwin for proposing itty-bitty steps not shown by the fossil record, and the next moment you’re telling us that the fossil record shows itty-bitty steps.

Quit nitpicking. I've simply said 'some' itty-bitty steps might appear in preparation for major change. You know full well Darwin wanted a series of tiny steps to cover all gaps, and they don't. What we are discussing is one obvious minor alteration which fills no gap.

DAVID’s comment: What this further study shows is that our earliest ancestors coming out of trees had advanced bipedal changes before permanently climbing down. Their upper body was apelike and last to change. It seems like evolution follows the pattern of change first and use second, as the big brain, size first use second.

dhw:I think this clearly shows a step-by-step process of adaptation to a new environment. Your use of “permanently” reinforces this idea. They didn’t suddenly leap down from the trees as fully formed hominins, but different changes occurred as they became more and more accustomed to life on the ground – just like the pre-whales adapting in different stages to life in the water.

Of course evolution occurs step by step. Only they are giant steps.

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