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Education Science

Study Catches Birds Splitting Into Separate Species 153

webdoodle writes "A new study finds that a change in a single gene has sent two closely related bird populations on their way to becoming two distinct species. The study, published in the August issue of the American Naturalist, is one of only a few to investigate the specific genetic changes that drive two populations toward speciation."
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Study Catches Birds Splitting Into Separate Species

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  • Old news (Score:4, Informative)

    by WeirdJohn ( 1170585 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:13AM (#28745735)
    This was observed with the Eastern Rosella several decades ago, when the Murrumbidgee Irrigation scheme split the population in two. There are now two distinct species, that will not mate to produce fertile and viable offspring under natural conditions.
  • by IWannaBeAnAC ( 653701 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:18AM (#28745749)

    That is almost entirely wrong. The overwhelming historical difference between different peoples is one of technology, and ensuing positive feedback effects. It took thousands of years to develop farming (for example), and once you have farming, then it is possible to develop cities, schools, and civilization. How quickly (or even if) a society develops technologies depends primarily on environmental factors, not intelligence per se. The stone age, for example, began about 2.5 million years ago and only culminated in the development of farming on around 7000BC. If the rate of technological progress on another continent was only 1% different, then they would not yet have discovered farming! That doesn't imply anything about intelligence, just that very small changes can have big effect.

    It would be interesting to put the AC parent poster in the wilds with no equipment, and see how quickly he/she develops some descent farming tools (as a precursor to rediscovering the microchip ;-)

  • by thephydes ( 727739 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:13AM (#28745969)
    It is not speciation occurring ...YET. It is two related bird populations not seeing each other as sexual rivals, apparently because of feather colour. The article is clear. This MAY lead to speciation if other genetic changes occur in one or both bird populations.
  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @06:10AM (#28746623)

    "So if speciation has occured (according to the article) when the two populations no longer mate"

    Re-read the article: it doesn't say so. It says that since those two populations no longer mate, the door is open for speciation to happen, not that it already has happened.

    "does that mean if white people and black people stopped mating they would be different species?"

    Change it for "they may end up eventually as different species" and you are right.

  • Re:Thank God. . . (Score:2, Informative)

    by canadian_right ( 410687 ) <> on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:43AM (#28747975) Homepage

    "The bible is a remarkably consistent book"

    I don't consider it consistent to demand you kill children who talk back to their parents in one place and demand you turn the other cheek in another to be consistent. Attempting to explain the many contradictions in the bible is a very active part of bible study.

  • Re:Thank God. . . (Score:2, Informative)

    by fredklein ( 532096 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:05PM (#28748829)

    It merely states, for the record, that children should not talk back to their parents. The demand that they be killed is something you've made up.

    Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

  • Re:Praise God! (Score:3, Informative)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @06:52PM (#28750913) Journal

    Actually, if you read the article, these birds are still the same species by the classic definition of species. They were only labeled as a new species because they don't willingly interbreed. I think your premise is completely off and premature. Perhaps in another 2 or 3 million years, but as of right now, it's just grasping at this point.

  • Re:Thank God. . . (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2009 @04:54AM (#28753945)

    *sigh* this is tiring

    Whoever strikes his father or mother dead shall be put to death.

    You left out a little part. Is it really necessary to lie ?

    All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.

    This is a bad translation, or at least one that lends itself easily to interpretation inconsistent with the original text. The word "curse" in this verse is a word that means something more like exhorting violence against the object (in this case the parents). At the very least this means publicly asking God to kill one's parents.

    It does most certainly not include "talking back" to parents.

    The old Testament has more of this sort of thing, but the new has it too.

    Surely, then, it can't be all that hard to show us, now can it ?

    Of course, so far nobody's shown a verse that's about parents being allowed to kill children even in the old testament.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.