Thursday, February 02, 2006
Dinner at Baby's: Werewolves, dinosaur jaws, hen's teeth,
Occasionally traits arise that appear to be atavistic throwbacks to the remote past. How can this make evolutionary sense?
As we get older we have a tendency to become nostalgic and think back on old times. We've recently seen a surge of nostalgia for the 1950s; among the remarkable comebacks are the new old diners, like Baby's here in State College (Figure 1). These new-old wonders proffer burgers and shakes like they used to be in the good old days. The decades of change in the competitive fast-food industry seem not to matter at all. The old taste is back! Even Patsy Cline and Elvis are still singing the same songs in the background.
There is a similar phenomenon in biology. Nobody accepts Ernst Haeckel's famous recapitulation argument that, as embryos, we literally go through the adult stages of our ancestors. Nonetheless, many seem to think the evolutionary past can rise again.
Full text at:
Model of an Internal Evolutionary Mechanism