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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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  • Keep in mind... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @12:15AM (#28745475)

    Keep in mind that the criteria for speciation is, itself, somewhat arbitrary and there exist few fine borders in nature for classifying things. These birds CAN produce offspring, but behaviorally, don't. This may be where some creationists get confused, thinking of dogs and cats and fish, etc in terms of some sort of central "essence" of an animal, when in reality the borders exist mostly in human minds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:19AM (#28745753)

    Then explain Obama, dickhead.
    If blacks and whites were 2 different species, he wouldn't exist.

  • Re:Keep in mind... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:04AM (#28745951)

    The most obvious fine border I can think of is those that do the eating, and those that get eaten.

    That's perhaps the least obvious fine border I could possibly think of. And easily the most confusing.

    A Shark which eats a Human which ate a Shark which another Shark which ate a Barracuda which ate a smelt which ate a shrimp which ate...

    All of those "Did the eating". So are they all the same?
    All of those "Got eaten". So are they still all the same?
    What about the shark which ate another shark? Are they different?

    Your border seems to ignore the fact that carnivores eat other carnivores. Also there are carnivores which eat plants as well. Are they different?

  • I don't understand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @02:36PM (#28749019) Homepage

    Why whenever we observe speciation people make such a big deal about it. We've observed speciation in plants for almost a hundred years and observed it in insects since the 1960s. Speciation in birds and mammals have also been repeatedly observed. See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html [talkorigins.org] and http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html [talkorigins.org].

    At this point the evidence for speciation is so overwhelming that even many young earth creationists acknowledge that it occurs. See http://creation.com/arguments-we-think-creationists-should-not-use [creation.com]. At this point anyone who is who thinks that speciation doesn't occur is so colossally ignorant that discussing matters with them should probably be done only if one is amused by talking to people under mass delusions by people so estranged from reality that reality probably got a restraining order against them.

  • by mldi ( 1598123 ) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:15PM (#28752485)

    So if a gene change causes the species of bird to stop mating due to feather color, thus causing "science" to predict eventual new species, Why hasn't this "science" been extrapolated to humans? If humans with certain traits stop breeding with other humans of certain traits (by nature or design), would not science say that those humans where on course for "speciation"? Likewise, if humans with distinct traits breed together, wouldn't that be argued by "science" as a process of "de-speciation"?

    Science can explain how things exist and work as we observe them. Science can explain a car, but science cannot explain why a car exists or why it came to be. Either the existence of a car was a random event in nature or was not a random event in nature, in either case for cause, the same science of a car is equally valid (assuming we have the "science" right). One could look at a car and say it was created, others may look at a car and say, hey, science can explain this, therefore it was not created (we can document snapshots of various "cars" evolving from a horse drawn carriage to the car of today as proof).

    The real question is can it be proven that everything we can see, hear and feel toady came into existence and coexists together in balance via a string of completely random and unrelated natural events? Or do you "choose" to "believe" science will be able to prove this one day?


    Why was this modded down? The poster asks some questions very valid for discussion. Science forbids we hold anything but a one-sided discussion? Do we just mod anybody down we don't agree with out of existence?

    The poster makes a valid point. I'm personally annoyed by all the mouth breathers who are SO anxious to prove Intelligent Design people wrong, so much so that they don't use good science and claim ridiculous things as being evolution. I heard a discussion one day about how big corn is now compared to in the past. They said something about people meddling with corn genetics and that was somehow evolution because the corn "changed". Ugh! Bad science is WORSE than no science at all. Can we stop the madness?

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