Evolution and Speciation

11 Jan

A news article posted some time ago (which I only recently discovered) got me to thinking. And when I start thinking, I start posting. (Does that mean I haven’t been thinking in the past few months?)

The “flesh-eating parasitoid maggots” are the offspring of the fly, Ormia ochracea, which invaded Hawaii from North America, and the mutant crickets are the flies’ would-be victims. The flies follow the chirps of a calling cricket and then deposit a smattering of wriggling maggots onto the cricket’s back. The maggots burrow into the cricket, and emerge, much fatter, a week later — killing the cricket in the process. But this fall, biologists Marlene Zuk, John Rotenberry, and Robin Tinghitella announced a breakdown in business-as-usual in this gruesome interaction: in just a few years, the crickets of Kauai have evolved a strategy to avoid becoming a maggot’s lunch

One fellow atheist on Twitter joked around that a potential Creationist argument would be that they’re still crickets. Continuing the joke, I noted that would it truly still be a cricket if it didn’t chirp? Would a dog still be a dog if it no longer had the ability to bark? Or lick its own privates?

Let’s extrapolate. We already know from above that these group of crickets evolved into a very similar form that simply lost its ability to chirp, for survival purposes. This demonstrates evolution by means of natural selection. Let’s take it a step further, and say that (for whatever reason) it then evolves into a form that loses the ability to hop. Then, later, it evolves the ability to fly a short distance. Is it still a cricket?

One could argue that it’s still a cricket, but is it the same species of cricket?

This is a crude example of how speciation (the evolution of a biological species) could very well work. But what some deniers still fail to understand is that the originating species (the original cricket species pre-chirp-removal) can still continue to exist alongside the other mutant species of crickets.

This is why monkeys, apes, orangutans, etc. still exist alongside humans. We tend to think of ourselves as a higher life form, but in reality all we have over other species are a more complex brain and the ability to walk upright (which some apes have even been known to do).


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