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     Darryl Wheye's Commentary

                 Imagine life on Earth, if vision had not evolved. How different might
               plants and animals look?

Darwin's mechanism of natural selection shows us how to understand some of the roles of color and shape and size. So, if vision had not evolved...

There would be no need for cryptic coloration    
no possibility of heeding warning coloration   
no advantage in possessing vibrant coloration   
or predator-deterring eyespots would most mimicry be auditory...or tactile...or olfactory?
   Might more flowers be green, allowing them to

Would males and females be visibly
more similar ...or less?

Artists: Geuze, Wild, Reiling, Docherty, Diment, McManiman


Leave a comment on vision and natural selection?

                  Trying to visualize shared ancestry in Darwin's day.

Darwin explored the idea of shared ancestry without the aid of high power magnification, or chromatography, or mass spectrography, or carbon dating, or xrays...

In the “The Common Hand” (National Geographic, May, 2012), Carl Zimmer wrote that our hands began to evolve from fins at least 380 million years ago, and within 40 million years, held five fingers. Many animals have hands. Did hands emerge independ- ently over, and over again, or did they evolve from a common ancestor? As Zimmer noted, “Darwin could re- cognize only the outward signs that hands had evolved from a common ancestor. Today scientists are un- covering the inward signs as well.”

The hand of the elephant is obscured by adaptations to withstand extreme weight. The hand of the aye-aye, a long fingered lemur, is capable of teasing out insect larvae hidden in recesses of trees. The thin-fingered hand of the bat (modeled here, on a flying fox) is adapted to stretch the membranous wing into flight- worthiness.

For more please see the article's slideshow

Leave a comment on visualizing shared ancestry and the process of evolution?

                  Imagine evolution as seen through the eyes of children:

Darwin gave us tools to look back in time. Looking forward might matter even more today.

Bernd Pöppelmann, Die Sünden ihrer Väter (Sins of Her Fathers) (35 x 47”, oil on linen)

In discussions it may help to consider how your view of human evolution compares with that of fellow stewards. In the U.S., for example, a 2012 Gallup Poll found that 15 percent held the view that humans evolved without divine intervention, 32 percent held the view that humans evolved with God's guidance, and 46 percent held the view that God created humans in our present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. Viewpoints inevitably vary.  What is essential, however, is caring about other species and their relationships and protecting them.

It may also help to consider how your view of evolution might compare with that of tomorrow's stewards. German artist Bernd Pöppelmann reminds us that children will be considering our sins as stewards and how fast they will need to scramble to try to overcome them so their children will not be held back by barren soil and an imbalance between human life and that of other species.

Leave a comment on the evolutionary process and sustainability issues?


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