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Earth Science

Fish Evolve Immunity To Toxic Sludge 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-does-not-kill-me dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Fish in the Hudson River and the harbor in New Bedford, Mass., have evolved resistance to PCBs. In the Hudson, a species of tomcod has evolved a way for a very specific protein to simply not bind to PCBs, nearly eliminating the toxicity. In New Bedford, the Atlantic killifish has proteins that bind to the toxin (just as they do in mammals) but the fish aren't affected despite high levels of PCBs in their cells. Why the killifish survive is a mystery."
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Fish Evolve Immunity To Toxic Sludge

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  • Yeah creationist ? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2011 @03:53PM (#37887610)
    I'm sorry, but i can't hear you over the sound of how awesome those fishes are!!
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:01PM (#37887646) Homepage Journal

    Single-celled organisms are generally a lot more flexible when it comes to environmental stress than multi-cellular organisms are, and among the latter, plants are generally more flexible than animals. Observing this kind of adaptation in animals is pretty impressive. Nobody expects life to stop adapting to the environment, but there are limits; e.g., humans aren't going to evolve resistance to being shot in the head, no matter how many times it happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:07PM (#37887668)

    >Why would anyone think it would stop?

    Because the American education system teaches that evolution is a fabrication of liberal anti-God scientists.

  • cookoo canary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epine (68316) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:31PM (#37887798)

    It says a lot about PCB distribution and signal strength if multiple species have evolved responses over sub-century time frames.

    It was convenient while it lasted for the fish who ingested our industrial waste stream to grow carbuncles and remove themselves from the human menu by simple visual inspection. But I guess we're heading back to the days where the host takes a brave first bite, and all the guests applaud if dinner proceeds. We'll all be double checking the Russian royal penumbra to ensure our host doesn't carry any midichlorians of Rasputin lineage.

    Canaries in the coal mine all the way up the food chain. Tag, you're it.

  • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @04:43PM (#37887854) Journal

    The problem here is that any argument (I hesitate to call it debate or even discussion) involving evolution vs creation is that it immediately degrades into an "us" vs "them" fight.

    To the hardcore evolutionists, all creationists get lumped together. It doesn't matter if their stance is "I don't think the big bang was an accident" or "the Bible says the Earth is 4000 years old, so that's how old the Earth is". You're a superstitious and mentally deficient nutjob who is at best to be ignored and at worst should be sterilized and exiled.

    The converse also occurs. To a fundamentalist creationist, anyone ranging from "I could see how evolution might account for certain things" to "evolution is the correct and only possible explanation" is a godless empty shell of a human who at best should be shunned and at worst should be burned at the stake.

    Modern science is built around the idea that you can never actually prove a theory, only disprove it and build a better theory. When you stop trying to disprove your models and accept them as truth, you stop being a scientist and step into the realm of faith.

    It's been my experience that fights are not between scientists and zealots; they are between zealots and other zealots.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2011 @05:21PM (#37888062)
    The only difference between the two is TIME. They are the same process, you bible-thumping nitwit.
  • by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday October 30, 2011 @05:25PM (#37888080) Homepage

    Modern science is built around the idea that you can never actually prove a theory, only disprove it and build a better theory. When you stop trying to disprove your models and accept them as truth, you stop being a scientist and step into the realm of faith.

    There's just two problems with that one:

    1. There's enough evidence for evolution that it must be mostly correct
    2. If evolution is flawed, it won't result in concessions towards the creationist stance

    For instance, take Newton. Yes, he wasn't entirely correct. But what he figured out, in the conditions he tested it in, worked. That Newton wasn't 100% correct didn't suddenly mean that the reality was any more aligned with the view of Aristotle.

    The same way, the argument isn't about whether evolution exists. That got figured out long ago, even before scientists figured out how genetics work. The current arguments are all about the details of it. That the current understanding isn't 100% correct isn't going to suddenly mean that the creationist stance is right, it's just going to mean that some of the details weren't entirely correct, like exactly how some features evolved, how important different mechanisms are, and so on.

  • Re:headlights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday October 30, 2011 @05:36PM (#37888202) Homepage Journal

    How long until deer evolve to not walk in front of my car?

    They already have. Those are in the woods, safe and sound. You're doing your part to help clean up the evolutionary dead ends.

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