Thursday, February 09, 2006

Darwin Proven Right Again

Advocates of creationism and intelligent design typically spread false claims of lack of scientific evidence of Darwin’s theories. One typical claim is that there has never been evidence of a new species being developed. If they bothered to read the scientific journals, rather than inventing pseudoscientific claims based upon their religious views, they would see that there have been many examples of new species being developed when one group has become isolated from another. USA Today reports that Nature has published evidence that Darwin was also right that new species could develop without such separation:

Critics of evolution cite scientific debates to undercut Darwin’s credibility. That strategy fails when research clears up some of the issues. Results from two separate research projects announced this week make that point.

They deal with Darwin’s controversial suggestion that new species can arise within an ancestral population even when there is no way to separate the diverging groups geographically.

There’s plenty of evidence that new species arise when segments of a single population become geographically separated, as Darwin also theorized. His other suggestion has lacked such evidence. It has remained what Axel Meyer and his colleagues at the University of Konstanz in Germany call “one of the most controversial concepts in evolutionary biology.”

They present in the journal Nature what they consider “a convincing case” that Darwin was right.

They found their proof in Nicaragua’s isolated volcanic crater Lake Apoyo. There, two species of cichlid fish — Midas cichlid and Arrow cichlid — live together. Detailed genetic, morphological, and ecological study confirms their relationship as separate species that evolved from a common ancestor. They live separate lives in the same geographical space. Misas feeds along the bottom. Arrow exploits the open water. The two do not interbreed.


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