Thursday, March 02, 2006


TalkOrigins webpage on Atavisms and Vestigial Structures

Retrograde Motion and Evolution, yesterday's post to the Personal Posts category, contained:

If the proposal of an internal evolutionary mechanism is seen as a Copernican expansion upon the Ptolemaic modern synthesis, then in terms of explanatory power alone, obvious areas to zero in on would be any evolutionary equivalents to retrograde motion.

Evolutionary atavisms are among such suitable candidates and have been brought to the fore (for a day or two at least!) by John F. Fallon's kind response to a request for a copy of The Development of Archosaurian First-Generation Teeth in a Chicken Mutant.
Vestigial Organs/Structures are equally interesting - hence the previous post of To See or Not to See: Evolution of Eye Degeneration in Mexican Blind Cavefish and a request in Wanted Papers for Modularity and sense organs in the blind cavefish*).

The TalkOrigins webpage (title link) gives a useful overview of both Atavisms & Vestigial Structures and has the following outline:
1. Anatomical vestigial structures
* Answers to criticisms of vestigial structures
1. Vestiges can have functions
2. Positive evidence demonstrates lack of functionality
3. Negative evidence is scientific when controlled
2. Atavisms
* Living whales with hindlimbs
* Newborn babies with tails
3. Molecular vestigial structures
4. Ontogeny and developmental biology
* Mammalian ear bones and reptile jaws
* Pharyngeal pouches and branchial arches
* Snake and whale embryos and with legs
* Embryonic human tail
* Marsupial eggshell and caruncle
5. Present biogeography
6. Past biogeography
* Marsupials
* Horses
* Apes and humans
John Latter

Model of an Internal Evolutionary Mechanism:

*This paper now appears on the Main Blog (here) and contains details on how to obtain reprints

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