Observed Evolution In Recent History

I had no idea there were this many examples of evolution caught in the act in a human time frame. I had heard of 3, the recent finch evolution in the Galapagos, the recent lizard evolution on Cypress, and the color change of butterflies (or was it moths) during the industrial revolution when tree bark blackened from coal soot.

Anyway, this is a great page full of examples, including new speciation and even whole new organs evolving. Cool stuff.


If anyone actually asks you “were you there?” The correct answer is “Yes. I was there.”


8 Responses to Observed Evolution In Recent History

  1. James R. Mc Gillawee says:

    Awesome article, thanx! Rod

    On Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:32 PM, The Misanthropic Principle wrote:

    > Misanthropic Scott posted: “I had no idea there were this many > examples of evolution caught in the act in a human time frame. I had heard > of 3, the recent finch evolution in the Galapagos, the recent lizard > evolution on Cypress, and the color change of butterflies (or was it moths) > “

  2. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I agree. Fantastic read and resource. Really does directly confront the macro/micro/change within the form argument that I thought was the denier’s strongest. They really have nothing now. Bet most of them will cling to climate change denial even stronger?

    • I think they keep climate change and evolution separate, at least the ones who have a minimum of a quarter of a brain. For those who argue that climate change isn’t happening because God promised Noah He would not destroy the earth again, nothing else matters. (BTW, an actual medical doctor turned congressional representative actually made this case on the house floor. Ass.)

  3. ECA says:

    Iv TRIEd to espress this to many others and TONS of people just dont get this idea..
    NATURE is always Rolling NEW ideas.
    ALWAYS little changes..
    You cant say it ISNT… As with Standing 100 people infront of you…almost ALL of them will be different in HOW their body works..

    WE are an ADAPTIVE species.. It might take a few generations, but WE will adapt under Natures concept..

    Natures concept of a NEW Species/group/whatever..
    1. CAN IT FEED itself?
    2. CAN IT BREED?

    now there are a bunch of little things in the middle..Survival is among them. but THOSE 2 are the most important.
    IF it cant find food, it will die..
    IF it cant breed, cross breed, Just get another EGG…It will be a 1 shot…no children.

    NOW for the embarrassing part:
    I say that as I am handicapped. I was BORN that way.
    THAT makes me Mutant.
    And I wish you to think about KEEPING all the Mutants AMONG you, and FIGHT for their lives at BIRTH..
    Do you understand what happens?
    This is a WILD card, as in NATURE, not many MUTANTS get a chance..
    1. POPULATION increases QUICK..
    2. EXTRA…random Mutations..

    Combinations NOT seen before, start POPPING UP..
    3. a HIGHER possibility of Random mutations..

    Dont get me WRONG.. I dont mind abit of Strangeness.. And there are alot of handicapped persons with GOOD brains in their heads..
    But I would think that…SOMETIMES(big word coming) Eugenics, may have a few things right.
    i cant see having a CHILD go threw LIFE, in a wheel chair and not being able to control their bodies..
    ANd if ABIT of it was practiced, In MANY countries we would loose 30% of the world population…

    IT wasnt long ago, that Doctors would Sterilize Children at BIRTH, if they THOUGHT, they were defective, or EVEN TO POOR…

    i wont go any further..as this could become a BOOK, very quickly..

  4. You will not convince me that eugenics has anything right. I’m going to be dogmatic on that one. Distant relatives of mine were killed by those practicing eugenics.

    As for your own handicap, whatever it might be, it is still allowing you to lead a productive life, just as my diabetes allows me to be productive. No, I would not kill off the phenotypes that happen to contain so-called bad recessives or even mutations.

    The other point about this post, however, is that evolution can happen rapidly, as Gould and Eldridge proposed in their theory of punctuated equilibrium, which is not at odds with Darwin’s theory, but is rather a refinement of the time scales.

    There have now been cases of evolution observed in human time frames, in one case, a whole new organ evolved. That’s macro-evolution for those who think that macro and micro are different and only one exists while the other does not.

    No theory of evolution says that a dog will evolve into a duck. No theory says that a species will evolve out of its existing families (taxa). We are still apes. We are still primates. We are still mammals. We are still synapsids. We are still whatever the scientific term is for lobe-finned fish. Birds are still dinosaurs. Birds are still saurapsids (the term for the family that includes reptiles and their descendents). Reptile is not a scientific term precisely because it excludes members of the family.

    The taxonomy hierarchy does not break. Species do not jump from one branch to another. The branching merely becomes more complex as new taxa evolve still within the older taxa.

    • Damn brain!

      Part of this reply got mixed up in my head. It doesn’t belong here. But, my fallible brain thought it did.

      It is actually a response to a reply someone made on the reddit thread that caused me to research this and come across the web page that is the subject of this topic.

      The bit about changing families (taxa) does not belong here because no one here was silly enough to expect that evolution implied that families would change in that way. That part of this response belongs on this reddit thread.


      BTW, I’ve been liking reddit a lot these days, though with over 2 million atheists on r/atheism, it’s often a bit difficult to keep up with even reading the posts, let alone replying to them.

      But, once in a while I chime in, then go away for a while. I still consider keeping up with my own blog a higher priority than contributing to reddit.

  5. ECA says:

    We are both on ABOUT the same side and ideal.
    Little changes, over and over, Will soon Make its way to becoming a SEEN change.
    There are also Other changes, as SOME creatures, including men, CAN merge(have sex) with other species.. or GROUPS..MOST cant cross over..But Some times it can happen. Just cause a DOG is a DOG, dont mean it cant have fun with a Wolf,Cyote, other canine species.. But There are Others in that CLOSE group. And having a Dog, have fun with ANOTHER NEAR species could make for some interesting interactions..

    I have a Wondering mind, so this is going to be abit OFF..
    Think about the Unicorn, and other species of the past, that ARNT around now…They COULD have been.

    MS, I would like a suggested topic for you and REDDIT…
    How many people are PAPER stuffers/pushers that PROCESS our foods. I think the BASIC processing is LESS then 50, and the Paper pushers are at least 10 times that..
    Those that arnt handling the goods. Those making MORE then those handling the goods(most times), the bosses and managers, and book keepers..

  6. I’m not aware of any living species with whom a human can breed successfully, even if infertile offspring result. Though, there is 2-4% of neanderthal DNA in most humans of European descent. There is some denisovan DNA in those of asian descent. I’m not sure how much.

    I’ve seen a half dog/half coyote in central park once. Half wolves are rather common and some make great pets. Unfortunately for every half wolf that makes a great pet, there are 20 or so stories that didn’t work out so well.

    The unicorn myth is generally assumed now to have come from the finding of narwhal tusks. Having seen both live narwhals (got really lucky at the ice floe edge near Pond Inlet) and their tusks, I can easily imagine that as the source. They look just as unicorn tusks are generally depicted.

    Here’s a tusk

    Here’s an image of the animals

    Here’s an image of the whale’s internal anatomy.

    I would suggest for yourself that you join reddit, find the appropriate sub-reddit on which to post your topic and do so. I wouldn’t know where to post it and am not 100% sure of the point you’re making regarding it.

    Hey, perhaps we should consider creating a cagematch subreddit. It might be the perfect place to move cagematch now that JCD has totally dropped it. He stopped even responding to my requests to let me try to help with it. I mostly don’t even go there anymore, as you have probably noticed.

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