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Stumpy And The Tail


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#1 OneHourPhoto

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:34 AM

I had this one typed up a while ago, it was meant to be longer and more complex but I just did not have the time for finish it to the standards I wanted to, I thought I may as well post it before my computer crashes and I lose it.

I am looking for some critique (positive and negative) of this posting I have come up with for the fascinating drop tail lizards. Please feel free to critique, please stick to the forum rules though.

Drop Tail Lizards: (autonomy)
Problems:
- Loss of the tail is very stressful to the lizard
- Extra energy/resources are required to heal the stump and re-grow the tail
- Some lizards store critical fat and protein deposits (energy) in the tail
- Loss of the tail, and the subsequent open wound becomes susceptible to infection
- The tail on a lizard, as with tails on other animals acts as a balance mechanism, therefore a lizard shedding its tail lessens the chance of survival, e.g. catching prey and even more susceptible to predatory attacks. A team led by biology professor Gary Gillis of Mount Holyoke College found that tree dwelling lizards that lost there tail “could no longer jump without tumbling backwards, making it difficult to land safely when jumping between branches.”
- Some species of lizards, when big enough, will not need the drop tail mechanism anymore and therefore will not expend energy to regenerate the tail, instead all energy goes into increasing body size.
- If autonomy happens in an adult specimen, their reproductive life goes on hold, with gamete production ceasing during this period
- As colour and pattern is so important to predatory evasion and social communication within a species, the absence of a tail due to autonomy severely effects the animals ability to survive and to find mates to reproduce
- A large range lizard species in multiple regions have the same defense mechanism

I can see a couple of possible outcomes, as above, firstly, the lizards that develop the “drop tail” mutation/mechanism survive a predatory attack, but subsequently because of the attack, the lizard is more stressed, extra energy is required to heal and replace the tail, the lizard becomes susceptible to infection, loses critical fat/protein stores, loses its balance mechanism and therefore has less chance of predatory evasion, and has less chance of catching its own prey, cannot land safely (increasing chance of injury or death) losing the tail in an adult lizard results in the ceasing of the reproductive life (disadvantageous to reproduction) and colour and tail pattern play an important role in social communication and therefore loss of the tail diminishes the lizards chance of finding a mate to reproduce. Therefore many become more susceptible to death and therefore extinction to its line (its advantageous mutation) .

The lizards within the species that do not have the drop tail mechanism/mutation are less prone to stress, less prone to fat and protein store loss, no energy is spent repairing/re-growing a tail, less prone to infection, have a better chance of predatory evasion (use of tail for balance) better chance of catching prey (tail balance) better chance of landing safely (when leaping) and a better chance to attract a mate and reproduce.

So my question is how would this mutation be beneficial within a population if the lizards that did not have the drop tail mutation/mechanism have a better chance of survival? I’m thinking maybe, have better balance and therefore survival mechanism already in place, better chance of reproducing due to 1) tail loss results in the lizard ceasing its reproductive life, therefore not having the drop tail mutation/mechanism allows the lizard to have a greater chance of reproducing and passing its genes on and 2) keeps there tail pattern and colour intact therefore having superior social communication and better chance of finding a mate to reproduce. Sure some will come an untimely death due to predation, but one would think the benefits of not having the drop tail mutation/mechanism as noted above would be more advantageous to the animals survival.
Or perhaps the 2 species split, one population remained without the drop tail and the other population had the drop tail benefit although I have no evidence on this.

Notice that I am questioning the natural selection mechanism and not evolution.

Please tell me your thoughts.

#2 PhilC

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:46 AM

There is of course the tautological answer - they are fit because they survive. :lol:

I would have thought it would be a case of looking at why the tail drops.

Imagine I'm a lizard (not hard for some of you!) and I get captured by a predator. I'm dead unless I drop my tail.

Chance of escaping a predator that has my tail in its mouth if I can't drop my tail - very low.

If I drop my tail I will survive and have other children.

Now also imagine a population of drop tail lizards. There is a variation in the amount of stress that the lizards feel when they lose their tails. All other things being equal, those with less stress will pass on their genes over those with more stress.

In simple terms along with the dropping of the tail there would be a selection pressure for being able to cope with losing a tail as well.

#3 OneHourPhoto

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:06 AM

Phil, Wow! That was one super quick reply, thanks :lol:

Imagine I'm a lizard (not hard for some of you!) and I get captured by a predator. I'm dead unless I drop my tail.

Chance of escaping a predator that has my tail in its mouth if I can't drop my tail - very low.


In regards to the lizard escaping the clutches of a predator, being grabbed by the tail and the tail dropping and therefore the lizard drops and escapes works as well, but from what I have observed is that the tail is dropped more when the lizard is startled by a predator, then what happens of course is the predator gets distracted by the dropped tail wiggling and squirming around on its own like a worm (obviously as the nerves in the tail, although severed, keep squirming, I have seen this first hand by myself when I was younger and it has fascinated me ever since).

Now also imagine a population of drop tail lizards. There is a variation in the amount of stress that the lizards feel when they lose their tails. All other things being equal, those with less stress will pass on their genes over those with more stress.


Can you elaborate on that a bit more please Phil, what do you mean by "variation in the amount of stress" I have never heard of this before? I understand what you mean when you say that those with less stress will pass on their genes over those with more stress, but as has been stated the drop tail lizards are more stressed when they lose their tail, or are you stating that the ones who have the drop tail mechanism but did not lose their tail (never encountered a predator or escaped without needing to drop their tail) are less stressed and therefore would pass their genes on, but then I would ask what about the original first drop tail mutation, if the lizard was stressed and had less chance of passing on the gene?

#4 PhilC

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:26 AM

as has been stated the drop tail lizards are more stressed when they lose their tail, or are you stating that the ones who have the drop tail mechanism but did not lose their tail (never encountered a predator or escaped without needing to drop their tail) are less stressed and therefore would pass their genes on, but then I would ask what about the original first drop tail mutation, if the lizard was stressed and had less chance of passing on the gene?


Dropping a tail would cause less stress to a lizard than to any other creature because selection pressure would lower the stress levels.

Then it is a balancing act between stress and being eaten. Those that drop their tails too quickly will spend too much energy regrowing them. Those that drop them too late would get eaten. There is a balancing point where the stress is worthwhile. Selection pressure would push the lizards to that point.

That's my theory anyway.

#5 bobabelever

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:18 AM

This is a perfect example of presupposition.

Photo and Phil presuppose evolution, so their explanations are soaked with assumptions that this "drop tail" function might not have always been there.

Bob (me) reads this and thinks to himself, 'God provided these particular lizards with a pretty neat survival tactic'.

A non-biased true scientist would simply observe:
- Some lizards have a "drop tail" mechanism.
- Some lizards do not.

#6 PhilC

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:49 AM

This is a perfect example of presupposition.

Photo and Phil presuppose evolution, so their explanations are soaked with assumptions that this "drop tail" function might not have always been there.

Bob (me) reads this and thinks to himself, 'God provided these particular lizards with a pretty neat survival tactic'.

A non-biased true scientist would simply observe:
- Some lizards have a "drop tail" mechanism.
- Some lizards do not.

View Post



...and then ask "how could this develop?"

And try and fit it within the current mainstream paradigm like Kuhn or see if it falsifies it like Popper.

#7 OneHourPhoto

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 05:45 AM

Dropping a tail would cause less stress to a lizard than to any other creature because selection pressure would lower the stress levels.

Then it is a balancing act between stress and being eaten.  Those that drop their tails too quickly will spend too much energy regrowing them.  Those that drop them too late would get eaten.  There is a balancing point where the stress is worthwhile.  Selection pressure would push the lizards to that point.

That's my theory anyway.

View Post


I'm still not following your selection pressure and stress levels correlation, what are you meaning with this? Are you saying that ones in between (your example) would have a good chance of survival?

Would the drop tail mutation have happened in one leap, or as it a gradual mutation, what would the previous mutations function be with the drop tail? That's where we hit a big wall.

#8 OneHourPhoto

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 05:52 AM

This is a perfect example of presupposition.

Photo and Phil presuppose evolution, so their explanations are soaked with assumptions that this "drop tail" function might not have always been there.

Bob (me) reads this and thinks to himself, 'God provided these particular lizards with a pretty neat survival tactic'.

A non-biased true scientist would simply observe:
- Some lizards have a "drop tail" mechanism.
- Some lizards do not.

View Post


Indeed, but none the less is this not the same when we believe in a God, that is to say we would presuppose that it was designed by God and had an immediate function. I see similarities here. If you notice my first post I state that I am not questioning evolution, but the natural selection mechanism. Without going too far off topic, the natural selection mechanism is what troubles me, I don't think it's a sufficient explanation, otherwise we would see direct correlations and timelines between species, but we don't. I think you are getting mixed up with my views.

#9 PhilC

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 06:09 AM

I'm still not following your selection pressure and stress levels correlation, what are you meaning with this? Are you saying that ones in between (your example) would have a good chance of survival?

Would the drop tail mutation have happened in one leap, or as it a gradual mutation, what would the previous mutations function be with the drop tail? That's where we hit a big wall.

View Post


I'm only saying that if a lizard has the drop tail "mutation" then there would be a deifinite selection pressure to dealing with dropping its tail. Maybe we are talking a cross-purposes here?

How could it have evolved? I don't know. It's incomprehensible to me that it could happen in one go due to my presupositions, but I also find it hard to see how a transitional would have any advantage. Any creationist would at that point say "poof that it couldn't have evolved" (God of the Gaps) but I am willing to leave it as an unknown for now.

#10 bobabelever

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:43 AM

...and then ask "how could this develop?"
...

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Why?

#11 bobabelever

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:51 AM

Indeed, but none the less is this not the same when we believe in a God, that is to say we would presuppose that it was designed by God and had an immediate function.

View Post

Yes.

If you notice my first post I state that I am not questioning evolution, but the natural selection mechanism. Without going too far off topic, the natural selection mechanism is what troubles me, I don't think it's a sufficient explanation, otherwise we would see direct correlations and timelines between species, but we don't.

I agree, I don't believe natural selection (evolutionistic), I prefer adaptation (God designed), had anything to do with this functionality/mechanism. God did design certain lizards this way from the beginning.

I think you are getting mixed up with my views.

OK, maybe I'll step out of this topic. I've given my input already anyway.

#12 PhilC

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:52 AM

Because we are always driven by curiosity.

Before Darwin there was Lamarckism. We are never satisfied until we drill down further and further, trying to work things out.

#13 PhilC

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:58 AM

I agree, I don't believe natural selection (evolutionistic), I prefer adaptation (God designed), had anything to do with this functionality/mechanism. God did design certain lizards this way from the beginning.


But Natural Selection has been observed, so it has to be part of the answer.

#14 bobabelever

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 11:35 AM

But Natural Selection has been observed, ...

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No, adaptation has been observed. You can call it "natural selection" all you want, it really is just adaptation.

...so it has to be part of the answer.

No, no it doesn't!

#15 falcone

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 03:12 PM

No, adaptation has been observed.  You can call it "natural selection" all you want, it really is just adaptation.

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What's the difference?

#16 PhilC

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:49 AM

No, adaptation has been observed. You can call it "natural selection" all you want, it really is just adaptation.


Adaption is not a mechanism. "How did you learn to play the guitar?" "I adapted.". Do you see, it doesn't explain how.

What mechanism pushes the adaption?

The observed Natural Selection.

#17 bobabelever

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 09:59 AM

What's the difference?

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Exxaaaaaactly <_<

However...

Adaption is not a mechanism.  "How did you learn to play the guitar?"  "I adapted.".  Do you see, it doesn't explain how.

What mechanism pushes the adaption?

The observed Natural Selection.

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From the OP (OneHourPhoto):
"Notice that I am questioning the natural selection mechanism and not evolution."
And rightly so ...Photo, you should question something when it doesn't make any sense at all.

...Photo also said:
"If you notice my first post I state that I am not questioning evolution, but the natural selection mechanism. Without going too far off topic, the natural selection mechanism is what troubles me, I don't think it's a sufficient explanation, otherwise we would see direct correlations and timelines between species, but we don't."

I said:
"...I don't believe natural selection ... [or] adaptation ... had anything to do with this functionality/mechanism. God did design certain lizards this way from the beginning."

PhilC said:
"But Natural Selection has been observed, so it has to be part of the answer."

I said:
"No, no it doesn't!"

All that is observed is that some lizards drop their tails in certain situations, other lizards do not drop their tails. We really don't know if this function did not exist at some point in the past; to say that certain lizards gained this function via adaptation (God) or natural selection (evolution) is an assumption at the very best!

#18 PhilC

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:06 PM

Sorry, I'm getting confused between threads. NS has been observed but I'm discussing that elsewhere. It's time to cut back on the number of threads that I reply too.

I'm not sure how these lizards evolved, but with the evidence (see other relevant threads) there is little doubt in my mind that it did.

#19 bobabelever

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:35 PM

Sorry, I'm getting confused between threads.  NS has been observed but I'm discussing that elsewhere.  It's time to cut back on the number of threads that I reply too. 

I'm not sure how these lizards evolved, but with the evidence (see other relevant threads) there is little doubt in my mind that it did.

View Post

That's because your worldview (evolutionist) demands that you "have little doubt [believe, or have faith] that it did"! You can not show me, via the scientific method, that they've evolved at all. <_<

Again:
Creationist = God created lizards, some have this drop tail function.
(no need to explain this function, just observing Gods creation)

Evolutionists = some lizards must have evolved this drop tail function.
(must explain, must speculate, must assume - but no evidence at all)

True science = some lizards have this drop tail function, some don't.
(no need to explain what is observed, just observing & documenting)

Which worldview, Creation of Evolution, better fits True Science?

#20 PhilC

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 12:46 PM

Creationist = God created lizards, some have this drop tail function.
(no need to explain this function, just observing Gods creation)

Evolutionists = some lizards must have evolved this drop tail function.
(must explain, must speculate, must assume - but no evidence at all)

True science = some lizards have this drop tail function, some don't.
(no need to explain what is observed, just observing & documenting)

Which worldview, Creation of Evolution, better fits True Science?


True science is just observation and documentation? Rubbish. If that were the case, then the LHC wouldn't have been built, and Maxwell's equations would never have been examined.

Einstein did not just observe and document, Newton did not just observe and document.

If that is your view of science then it explains why you don't accept evolution. It has nothing to do with whether it is scientific or not, it is based on your lack of knowledge of the scientific process.

Any criticism of the theory of evolution from someone that thinks that about science will never be a robust criticism.




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