Friday, February 20, 2015


Why today's comments?

I happened across an old personal journal entry from October 13, 2006 with the follow (slightly edited).

Kimura and Ohto 1961 on Molecular evolution is good for general principles, but the final page in particular need rebuttal about- 
assumption that verbal arguments based on evolutionary principles will become useless as computer approaches improve; and- 
presumption that neutral mutations are increasing at the same rate in “living fossils” as they are in others changing more rapidly. 
Aspects of human evolution thought about this morning (may be in the literature but) included: bipedal human ancestors were favored in surviving drying conditions at forest edge by ability to reach fruit on small branches better than others living in trees or as quadrupeds on ground.  Ancestors were also favored by being able to see other tree clumps across neighboring grasslands, and ability to see over grass to avoid predators or even frighten them by their erect posture providing an imposing frontal profile. Of course, views of Hamilton (Life’s Color Code) need to be included in discussion of human evolution.

The two rebuttal needing assumptions of the 1961 article cited were in error because (1) verbal arguments may be able to bridge a linear impasse a computer approach is incapable of evaluating.  And (2) neutral mutation rates would seldom increase at the same rate in "living fossils" as they are in other organisms.  (1) is shown by the failure of molecular phylogeny programs to compensate for generation time.  (2) is dramatically shown by the appearance of pogonophorans via "long-branch attraction" within computer generated trees of other groups.

Hamilton's book provides good evidence of how observation and reason can provide insightful understanding of human evolution. 

Numerous other posts of this blog provide support for the above rebuttals.  Although evolution may be used in labels with topics other than evolution, it is almost always used in labels for relevant evolution posts.  

Joseph G. Engemann      Kalamazoo, Michigan     February 20, 2015

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