Dog Ancestors Evolved From Mongoose-Like Forest Dwellers

by Jennifer Viegas

The first canines emerged in North America, where climate change transformed them from mongoose-like forest dwellers into pursuit-and-pounce predators, new research finds.

The discovery adds to the growing body of evidence that climate change dramatically affects the evolution of both predators and their prey.

“It’s reinforcing the idea that predators may be as directly sensitive to climate and habitat as herbivores,” co-author Christine Janis, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, said in a press release. “Although this seems logical, it hadn’t been demonstrated before.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, also reinforces prior findings that the earliest ancestors of dogs were native to North America.

“Dogs, that is the family Canidae, originated in North America, and did not spread to other parts of the world until around 7 million years ago, when they turn up in Africa and Eurasia, and they got to South America around 2 million years ago,” Janis told Discovery News…

(read more: Discovery News)

illustration of Hesperocyon and Sunkahetanka by Mauricio Anton


Savage 10 metre fish of the Silurian and Devonian

Heavily armoured piscine torpedoes with fierce teeth roamed the oceans in the early days of fishes, in fact the Devonian era is called the age of fishes by palaeontologists as they had a huge burst of speciation and diversified to fill most marine ecological niches during this time. The now extinct (fortunately) class known as placodermi (plate skin in Greek) was the apex predator of these long gone waters, and thrived from 438 to 358 million years ago, dying out at the end Devonian mass extinction (one of the lesser ones).

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Lemurs are primitive primates found only on the African island of Madagascar.  They share many traits with ancient primates, including communicating mainly by scent, wet noses, and having divergent digits rather than fingernails.  It’s believed that the ancestors of lemurs came to Madagascar on rafts of vegetation some 62 to 65 million years ago.  Since then, they have diversified enormously; previous to the arrival of humans on the island, there were lemurs as large as gorillas!

This is for a certain idiot refusing to accept that evolution is not a perfect process and that therefore, it is nonsensical to speak of a purportedly perfect god guiding this imperfect process, i.e., theistic evolution. Theistic evolution, though less nonsensical than creationism and intelligent design, is still ridiculous. Never mind that it’s a glaring departure from tradition and canon; in other words, it’s a departure from citing the Fall as being the reason why things are in the state that they are and that perhaps, evolution is the process that took hold once sin entered the world. That, in itself, is a dubious claim that requires all sorts of interpretative ingenuity in order to work, but I’ll digress.

To continue Attenborough’s line of thought, I’ll cite a rare quote from Robert Ingersoll. 

Would an infinitely wise, good and powerful God, intending to produce man, commence with the lowest possible forms of life; with the simplest organism that can be imagined, and during immeasurable periods of time, slowly and almost imperceptibly improve upon the rude beginning, until man was evolved? Would countless ages thus be wasted in the production of awkward forms, afterwards abandoned? Can the intelligence of man discover the least wisdom in covering the earth with crawling, creeping horrors, that live only upon the agonies and pangs of others? Can we see the propriety of so constructing the earth, that only an insignificant portion of its surface is capable of producing an intelligent man? Who can appreciate the mercy of so making the world that all animals devour animals; so that every mouth is a slaughter house, and every stomach a tomb? Is it possible to discover infinite intelligence and love in universal and eternal carnage?

What would we think of a father, who should give a farm to his children, and before giving them possession should plant upon it thousands of deadly shrubs and vines; should stock it with ferocious beasts, and poisonous reptiles; should take pains to put a few swamps in the neighborhood to breed malaria; should so arrange matters, that the ground would occasionally open and swallow a few of his darlings, and besides all this, should establish a few volcanoes in the immediate vicinity, that might at any moment overwhelm his children with rivers of fire? Suppose that this father neglected to tell his children which of the plants were deadly; that the reptiles were poisonous; failed to say anything about the earthquakes, and kept the volcano business a profound secret; would we pronounce him angel or fiend?

And yet this is exactly what the orthodox God has done.
According to the theologians, God prepared this globe expressly for the habitation of his loved children, and yet he filled the forests with ferocious beasts; placed serpents in every path; stuffed the world with earthquakes, and adorned its surface with mountains of flame.

Notwithstanding all this, we are told that the world is perfect; that it was created by a perfect being, and is therefore necessarily perfect. The next moment, these same persons will tell us that the world was cursed; covered with brambles, thistles and thorns, and that man was doomed to disease and death, simply because our poor, dear mother ate an apple contrary to the command of an arbitrary God.

Saying that evolution or the world is a “cog” in the vast whole and that therefore I’m arrogant to say that it’s imperfect is a red herring. My argument was never that a perfect god doesn’t guide an imperfect universe. I simply quibbled with the notion that a perfect god guides an imperfect process that results in countless dead ends, mutations that are detrimental to organisms and species, and genetic drift that is sometimes detrimental to biodiversity. This is exactly the sentiment Ingersoll and Attenborough express above, and they aren’t the first to make such observations.

The idiot claims that I didn’t explain what I meant by perfect. I think I did and in his lack of reading comprehension, he must have missed it. I’ll reproduce it here.

Now, to people who actually care, for evolution to be a perfect process, it’s drivers would have to be perfect. Perfection, in this case, would mean that every species would have maximum fitness. In other words, they would be well-suited for their environments, survive, and their birth rates would exceed their death rates by a wide margin. In nature, this is not what we find and part of that is because such a constant growth model is unrealistic. We find natural selection, which is defined as differential success. That is to say that some species are more successful than others; for instance, some predators are keystone predators, so removing them from their communities would have vast impacts on other species in their communities. Not every species is a keystone species and as evidenced by the many evolutionary dead ends (e.g. Neanderthals), not every species is successful; some go extinct in relatively short times. 

Mutation is quite often detrimental to a species and genetic drift, over time, reduces biodiversity and serves to make a population more similar. This is what I meant by an imperfect process. Evolution does not always succeed at making a species successful or repurposing a vestigial organ or doing away with a homology. It is a tinkerer as Francois Jacob put it (see here). It is not an engineer nor is it guided by an engineer.

He’d much rather say things like, “Your tatctic of trying to hide your lack of substantive response in an endless stream of blather will not work on me,” rather than actually reading what I say. Then he says things like, “Man you either never had a thinking cap or you lost yours in some orgasmic fit of atheistic mental masturbation.” And then, “You proclaim the surface of the screw head to be imperfect, because it has a gash in it. Little does your arrogant ass know, the gash is SUPPOSED to be there.” And then he wonders why I don’t respond to him, why I blocked him over on his old blog, and took several opportunities to openly embarrass him. And here we are again. We’ve come full circle and he’s still on the receiving end of a clear intellectual smack down. And I’m ignorant? And I’m a “christophobe”? If there are atheists who actually hate some Christians, it is Christians like him that have provided them with justification. He’s a bigot, he tries his hardest to offend, he can’t respectfully disagree, and he’s so enamored with his right to an opinion that he has forgotten to check whether his opinion is actually correct. In this case, it’s not.

He claims that I can’t show that the universe is imperfect assuming a perfect god exists. Atheists have done that time and time again. The Evidential Problem of Evil anyone? I am not, however, required to do that because that’s off topic. Then he says that I’ve veered off topic. The fact of the matter is that I approached his claims directly and as always, handed him his behind on a platter. And here he is essentially throwing the same kind of tantrums he would throw two years ago. Seems he has learned absolutely nothing in his time away from this site and I truly pity him.

At any rate, he has nothing else to say that’s worth noting. I have nothing else to add to this discussion. He claims to have thrashed my argument. Let the evidence speak for itself. Any objective third party who is neither Christian nor atheist will have no trouble seeing that he’s outclassed. He’s not on my intellectual level and never has been, and guess what, that’s all his fault. He could ascend to these heights; he can choose to learn, to quell his current state of ignorance, to pick up a few books other than an Iron Age book some people claim is the literal word of god, to take a seat at the feet of people who have mastered the art of rhetoric and intellect, to enroll in courses that challenge his predilections, to ensure that his views cohere with one another, and so on. For one reason or another, he has not chosen that for himself. I’ve extended that invitation one too many times and the verdict is absolutely clear: he’s quite content with his idiocy, so content, in fact, that it’s enough for him to accuse, label, besmirch, ridicule, and demonize everyone who disagrees with him and in a broader sense, his religion. I mean come on, he’s an admin at a blog focusing on “christophobia.” How petty of him to hijack a term usually reserved for Islam in an attempt to draw attention to the plights and persecution American Christians supposedly face. 

Now, looking directly at you, and this is my parting shot, I disagree with you. I think you’re wrong. I think I’ve demonstrated that over and over. This does not mean that I hate you and your religion anymore than me thinking veganism is erred means that I hate vegans and veganism. It’s a nonsensical belief rooted in the weak, petulant psyches of certain, usually radical, religious groups like the one you affiliate with. Now lick your wounds and stay in your sorry corner of the ever expanding internet where you can claim to your vanishingly small number of followers that you know who created the universe, why it was created, and that it’s perfect irregardless of the facts aforementioned. I’ll stay in my corner, increase my influence, and weed out people like yourself effortlessly. My body of work speaks for itself. I bid you adieu!

Calum bridge evolution
  • Calum bridge evolution
  • 5 Seconds of Summer
  • sounds good feels like I wanna crush my soul with a blender

I get bored sometimes and I make things and I’m not really sure why.

Here’s the evolution of Calum’s voice through some of his bridges and stuff.

yes there’s some luke in here yes theres some michael in here yes theres some ashton in here

The dawn of life – or something very like it – sits on a shelf in the office of a friendly isotope geochemist named Victoria Bennett in the Earth Sciences building of the Australian National University in Canberra….The rock came from Akilia Island in Greenland, where unusually ancient rocks were found in 1997. The rocks are 3.85 billion years old and represent the oldest marine sediments ever found….

We can only guess what the organism might have looked like. It was probably about as basic as life can get – but it was life nonetheless. It lived. It propagated.

And it eventually led to us.
—  Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything