Evolution has stopped?

Mark Wann scunge at ozemail.com.au
Sat Apr 29 16:30:41 EST 1995


ShereKhan (mjg5 at ukc.ac.uk) wrote:

: In reply to the previous Marc, do you think that green mammals would
: ever arise?
: What I believe is that evolution has stopped in terms of new phyla but
: speciation may well be adapting primarily to the biochemical level.  Tell
: me if you think Im wrong!  Has the world reached its maximum number or
: variety of phyla that evolution could have developed over its history?
: Also, if this is the case, why?  Because the world cant sustain more 
: variety?  I can not say how many years it took for humans to develope from
: apes, but do you honestly think it is possible that such a dramatic change 
: in form can arise after the same period of time from now?

Aaargh! Sorry, I couldn't help myself. It's just that the concept
that evolution has stopped, in any sense, is the result of a humano-centric
viewpoint. As far as I'm concerned, it is impossible for evolution to
stop. The "problem" is that it's sometimes difficult to perceive
evolution in progress, given the human life-span. It can happen, though.

For example, I remember hearing on the radio how the world's tuna
are "getting smaller". Due to heavy fishing, all the large tuna get
caught in nets and the ones that survive to breed are the smaller
ones. Evolution.

What can/would instigate a large amount/variety of evolution is
significant environment change. In the example above, wide-spread
fishing was a significant change to the tuna's environment. On a
global scale, an ice age (for example) would do it. At this stage,
I'm not sure how much effect greenhouse gas or ozone levels are
affecting the evolutionary process.

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Mark "Scunge" Wann                  "The Mind, the Tool and the Engine.
Private: scunge at ozemail.com.au                  This is optimum fusion."
Business: mark.m.c.wann at msmail.bhp.com.au              - Iron Man, Crash
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