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3F03 January 9.docx

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Paul W Andrews

3F03 January 9 Lecture Quizzes (15%), 2 midterms (25%) and final (35%) Quizzes between 8:30-8:45 • Testing on the main themes and concepts Kaplan article for next week –assigned for Tuesday (has material that we will be referring to many times in the course) Recap • Biological traits have lots of effects • Adaptations are biological traits that have been shaped/ modified by selection to promote a particular gene-propagating effect • Distinguish from adaptive o “Adaptive” doesn’t require the evidence of modification o “Adaptation” doesn’t require that trait is currently adaptive Alternatives to adaptation • Exaptation (trait with an adaptive effect, but hasn’t been modified by selection for that effect) (adaptations within their own right—) o Black heron’s wings (forages in shallow pools for fish—because it looks like a bird—there are things that the heron does—umbrellas: sees the inside more clearly and makes it more difficult for the fish to notice it) o The wings evolved to promote flying o For a lot of traits—there may be no noticeable effect of adaptation—the wings are adaptations for flight by exaptations for shading) • Disorder or malfunction (an adaptation, but it is not functioning properly) o Diabetes (Adaptation for insulin resistance but they break down under high sugary diets) o Glasses (hardening of the lens—reflects a degradation of a portion of the eye) • Byproduct (a trait that is tied to an adaptation, but has not been selected for itself) o Whiteness of bones o There doesn’t need to be anything beneficial about this (sets it apart from exaptation) How do we get conclusive evidence that a trait is an adaptation? • Aclaim about ancestral selection pressures, not current • Evolution by natural selection is only known natural processes that can produce complex traits with ‘adaptive’functions (Darwin, 1859) o Only thing we know for sure • Biological organisms are non-random assemblages of matter that appear to defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Cause is evolution by natural selection. (Schrödinger, 1944) o If you want to keep a trait in an organized, complex, functional structure—you want to require energy to do so—it will naturally degrade o Organisms seem to follow the second law of thermodynamics due to their organization • If a trait’s structure/operation shows special design for promoting an effect, then selection must have modified the trait for that effect (Williams, 1966) o Special design: references non-random organization (Schrödinger) The ‘Reverse Engineering’Process • Deconstruct the trait’s structure: figure o
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