Hairy penis goes way of Dodo

2011-03-10 22:43

Paris - Some defining human traits - a penis bereft of the stiff sensory hairs common to many male mammals, a bulging brain - come less from new genes than genetic material lost through evolution, according to a study published on Thursday.

The findings suggest a new way of thinking about what sets Homo sapiens sapiens, or modern man, apart from our close evolutionary cousins, especially the chimpanzee, whose DNA overlaps with ours by 97%, the authors said.

Most research on this question has looked for what is genetically novel in humans, and focused on the genes themselves rather than the regulatory mechanisms that drive them.

"But we asked, 'are there functional, highly-conserved genetic elements in the chimpanzee genome that are completely missing in humans?'," said Gill Bejerano, an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and co-leader of the study.

More than 500 (of) these deeply-rooted clutches of DNA found in chimps and their evolutionary forebear, going back millions of years, are entirely absent from the human genome, the researchers found.

Most are also missing in Neanderthals, which means they dropped out the pathway leading to our species at least 500 000 years ago, before the evolutionary split with our doomed, cave-dwelling cousins.

Losing bits of regulatory DNA - but not the genes they control - means that the related changes in anatomy and behaviour are likely to be subtle.

Anatomical changes

But these blank spots can eventually lead to new traits, and even new species, Bejerano said.

"The current study not only identifies an intriguing list of deletions in humans, it also linked them with specific anatomical changes that are unique to the human lineage," he explained in a statement.

The study uncovered two main categories of transformation. The first affects how brain cells signal the presence of steroid hormones such as testosterone.

Which brings us to the human penis.

One bit of the missing bits of DNA drives a sex hormone responsible for the growth of sensory hairs, called vibrissae, and surface spines found on the penises of many mammals, including big apes.

The loss of these structures in humans decreases tactile sensitivity, but increases the duration of intercourse, arguably a trade-off when it comes to its impact on gratification.

The other transformative category influences development of the brain. A genetic snippet found in chimps and other early primates but, again, absent in humans activates a gene that hampered neural growth, including tumours.

It's supression, scientists speculate, might have boosted development in our brains, especially in areas giving rise to uniquely human traits.

The resulting changes may have also contributed to monogamous bonding and the complex social structure required to raise our species' relatively helpless infants, they said.

  • SumDumBum - 2011-03-11 07:42

    Damn, I still havce a hairy one. What does that mean, am I a monkey?

      Bloodbane - 2011-03-11 07:57

      no ape maybe

  • ludlowdj - 2011-03-11 08:14

    it was the ALIENS

  • Sword&Cross - 2011-03-11 09:21

    WHAT? Neanderthals with multiple wives are STILL prevalent in Africa today. Would hate to examine closer.

      contributor - 2011-03-11 10:35

      Throwing insults into a scientific chat shows stupidity and intolerance on your side. Now I wonder who's the REAL Neanderthal.

  • Windu - 2011-03-11 12:08

    @DrHomer: Googled "Gulls". The body and soul of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution was his idea that evolution was made possible through natural selection. This concept is based on the suggestion that those members of a species that are a little stronger, a little larger, or run a little faster will live longer to procreate offspring with these superior adaptations. Darwin's theory suggests that millions of generations later the changes will result in new species. These adaptations are called links or intermediates. The idea of natural selection sounds great when considering deer. The deer that can sense danger the quickest and run the fastest are able to escape the predator on a more consistent basis. However, other examples on the evolutionary tree have many laughable flaws. One of the best is the thought that a bird began to evolve a wing. Why this would occur is not answered by evolutionists. The wing stub did not make the bird more adaptable in his environment. The wing was much too small for the bird to fly. Why would a bird evolve a wing that was useless? This is backwards from the evolutionary natural selection concept that birds adapt and change in order to survive better in their environment. The bird with a half-size wing is placed at a disadvantage in its environment. Why would the bird continue for millions of generations improving a wing that was useless? Saamprater approached the argument incorrectly, but I can give MANY examples of why Evolution is RUBBISH!

      JohnnyWotten - 2011-03-11 12:27

      So a small, tree-dwelling creature that develops tiny-wing like stubs, which allow it to glide to the safety of another tree to escape danger holds no advantage over the other creatures that are stuck there when a predator corners it?

      Windu - 2011-03-11 13:57

      @JohnnyWotten. Nice theory, so we have to assume that all other tree huggers managed to survive without the 'gliding' technique, based on a devoid ability? Another theory needed to explain why some adapted gliding, others did not? Going further back on your life cycle 'chain', this species of yours would have evolved from an organism. The second law of thermodynamics proves that organization cannot flow from chaos. Complex live organisms cannot rearrange themselves into an organism of a higher form as claimed by evolutionists. This is scientifically backwards according to the second law of thermodynamics that has never been proven wrong. Scientists cannot have it both ways. The second law of thermodynamics is proven to be correct. Evolution lacks any scientific proof. Evolution is simply an empty theory, sustained by 'insights' such as yours.

      LouBal - 2011-03-11 14:25

      Yes yes yes - I think you make a very good point, too much of what is accepted as "truth" that "has been proven" has in fact been sucked out of a finger and posted in some scientific paper to boost the authors' ego

      JohnnyWotten - 2011-03-11 17:11

      @Windu, The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that closed systems tend to grow more disorderly. You conveniently glossed over the word "closed". Life is certainly not a closed system. As an example, we created environmental disorder through deforestation, the extraction of fossil fuels and the pollution of water, all in order to create an organised system of cities, traffic routes and utility supply. Hence an ordered system being established through disorder. You have also attempted to use one, misrepresented, scientific law to prove your point yet science overwhelmingly backs up the theory of evolution. I assume your acceptance on this law means you acknowledge that science holds answers? My suggestion is you research your science on scientific websites rather than religious ones. Creationists tend to flaunt their lack of understanding of scientific principles when wading into these debates.

  • donovan richmond - 2011-03-11 14:13

    hehe!! according to evolution we all come from the coelocanth?? why after so many "millions of years is the coelocanth exactly the same?? it is because there is no such thing as evolution and there is absolutely no evidence for it , there is actually a reward of $250 000 to the first person who has scientific evidence to back up the evolution theory.the theory of evolution was mathematicaly disproven in the 1920's. the funniest thing about the theory of evolution is that it is actually a religion!! hehe if there is no proof of something you have to believe in it,which makes it a religion. so on that note i would rather believe the religion that makes sense and is scientifically and historically accurate such as the bible,the bible even matches the geologic evidence.

      NS - 2011-03-11 14:47

      You can't be serious!? You're either taking the piss, or have been taking too much fairy-dust (read 'communion'). The reward for proving the existence of a creator currently stands at UDS 1 million!.On that comparison alone the bookies know where to hedge their bets! Women didn't have the vote in 1920. Space travel didn't exist. Times and methodologies have changed. I doubt whether the methodology used to 'mathematically' disprove evolution would be of use, or would be even viable today - if such a 'disproving' actually took place. A religion requires faith. One doesn't need faith to behold a fossil. Make sense? To sense that a fairly exists is hardly scientific nor historically accurate. The bible matching geologic evidence? That's like saying the story in book 'Spud' was based on events at Michaelhouse (and was not just a setting) therefore the story is true… My god (or is that yours?), if there is a god he's definitely forsaken you...

      GT - 2011-07-21 19:38

      Donovan - best to stop quoting frauds and nut jobs, does your cause no favours.

      GT - 2011-07-21 19:43

      DR - how exactly was it disproven? ALL the natural sciences have a basis in an old earth and evolution by natural selection. You would throw that all in the bin for a fraud like kent Hovind? And all this time I thought Jesus taught people to be honest and good. You guys should start a "lying for jesus" club

  • donovan richmond - 2011-03-11 14:49

    there is a reward out of $250 000 for anyone who has any scientific evidence to back up the evolution theory. the reason the reward is still standing is that there is still no scientific evidence to back up the theory,the fact that it is still called a theory explains everything.if you believe in a theory it means you are believing in something that you hope exists and that is called a religion!!the fact is the theory of evolution was mathematicaly disproven in the 1920's . the current scientific and geologic evidence is pointing to a young earth.if we evolved from coelocanths why are they still exactly the same as they were 'millions of years ago'?? do you know that there have been dinosaur bones found with soft tissue in you know the nostrills of some of the biggest dinosaurs wre the size of a horses nostrills?where did such vast quantities of coal and oil come from? did you know the moon is moving away from the earth?? did you know the sun is getting smaller?? did you know the earths magnetic field is getting weaker?? we are not evolving or getting better, everything in the universe breaks down and gets worse, this means only one answer is left : it was once better,it was once created and is getting worse

      David - 2011-03-11 22:53

      Please just sit down. Never has it been suggested that we all evolved from the Coelocanth. People tend to incorrectly make the link as the fish is called 'old four legs' thinking that this implies this was the first and only fish to walk on land and hence we all came from it (of which the Ceolocanth did not actually do by the way). That is not true, the world is also not flat Donovan. In addition, if you actually read the article above before commenting, you would realise that it is suggested that evolution occurs due to the loss of genetic material, not the addition of it. And even if we did all come from the Coelocanth, to answer your question, why are they still around? Well do you really think every single member of a particular species would all change in the exact same way at the same time as if by magic? Certain populations of a species would have adapted as necessary given their imdediate enviroment. Others not subjected to the same enviroment would adapt in a different manner or even not at all. I am religous, but I also am open minded, and there is more than enough evidence to suggest that evolution has happened and continues to happen. Whether these developments are guided or are random is another question all together.

      bmpdragon - 2011-03-12 01:44

      Donovan, the reward you refer to is offered by Kent Hovind (the infamous "Dr Dino" and CSE evangelist). Here are some facts about Kent Hovind (as I posted in a prior forum): Kent Hovind offered US$250 000 to any scientist that can "prove" evolution. Being the highly educated individual that he is (with several degrees from non-existent theological colleges), the "Rev." Kent Hovind is final scientific arbitrator of this cash award, but is unable at the moment to pay out anything, since he is in jail for no less than 58 offences (including fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. So much for “Thy Shall Not Steal” and “give unto Ceasar...”)! The mathematical proof you refer to was supposedly given by Murray Eden in 1966 at a conference and (as I once again wrote in a prior forum), it was pointed out to Eden at the same symposium where he announced his "estimates" that his figures were inaccurate. Furthermore, the current scientific and geological evidence do not support the notion of a "young" Earth. All the various dating techniques show quite the opposite: the Earth is around 4 1/2 billion years old. The Coelocanths (of which there are two extant species) are called "living fossils" because they are very similar to fossil (extinct) Coelocanth species, but they are not the same. Coelocanths have evolved, albeit slowly (due to there being no or little environmental stress and predation/competition). But they have evolved (as fossil evidence shows)!

      donovan richmond - 2011-03-12 16:01

      my bad, theory of evolution was disproven in 1870,s by James Clerk Maxwell, here is an interesting read from 1925 though-take a look at a book by William A Williams,he points out 50 good points against evolution theory,even today it has been disproven through molecular biology!tell me some thing David, what fish did we evolve from?if evolution occurs due to the loss of genetic material,(i am laughing to myself as i am trying to picture how much genetic material a bacteria would have to lose to become an elephant)it does not matter how many millions of years you put into the situation, it is just impossible.what this article is actually saying is that we never had the same genetic material as apes from the beggining, we havent lost anything!

      bmpdragon - 2011-03-12 17:12

      Donovan, referencing material from nearly a century ago without also acknowledging recent paradigms, findings, theories, fields, etc., is just plain dubious and naive. When upgrading your PC today, you don't buy components or guidebooks from the 1980s (although you may use those to get a feel for the development of the Personal Computer through the decades)! When trying (and this is the operative phrase here: "trying") to refute neo-Darwinian evolution, you don't solely reference articles from the 1870s and 1920s when the DNA molecular structure and role in heredity wasn't discovered until the 1950s. The modern synthesis of evolution (neo-Darwinism: that is, mutation, sexual selection/gene flow, natural selection, drift, ) only started to form in the 1930s. Subsequent fields like Information Theory, Complexity Theory, Biosemiotics, Bioinformatics, Genetics, etc. only came in the later half of the 20th Century. All of these have had an impact on the development of modern evolutionary theory. Also, just because your cannot understand or refuse to comprehend something, doesn't mean that other people don't understand it or that it doesn't exist. You are beginning to sound like Juju "baby" Malema when he stated that hermaphroditism doesn't exist because it is not in the Pedi lexicon!

  • donovan richmond - 2011-03-11 15:04

    here is a simple test: take a kind of dog and breed it for a couple of generations, what happens? it gets weaker and you have to bring in another dog to increase the gene pool! it is the same with any other animal, the animal is not going to suddenly turn into a apple or vice versa, it dosent matter how many millions of years you throw in the situation, it just gets worse, even humans are facing a genetic overload.i cant believe people use archaeopterix as so called 'evidence' it is just a normal bird that went far as i can see the argments for evolution dont make sense and are quite embarrassing

  • donovan richmond - 2011-03-11 15:51

    fossils are proof of a cataclismic world wide flood,there is no absolute way of dating them and the dating methods used are based on the geologic colomn,do a bit of research on the geologic colomn and you will find that the dates of millions of years were made up in the 1700's before there was any sort of dating method like carbon or argon dating, as i said the evolutionists do not come with any proof, a fossil proves an animal was burried under silt which proves a flood, here is another question: if the layers of rock are millions of years old why is there nothing between the layers? the bible has historical record of many great civilizations and record of a great flood,have you ever wonderd why there is a record of people living to the age of 900 years?? it is because there was a different atmosphere on the earth and possibly a canopy of ice over our atmosphere which pushed air pressure up which explains why dinosaurs got so big(the oxygen levels were much higher and pressurized) air bubbles in fossilized amber show much higher levels of oxygen than seen today this would also explain the huge amounts of coal and oil reserves, which by the way are buried underground. i wonder how it got there? do you know that nearly every ancient civilization on earth has a record of a giant worldwide flood and a family building a giant barge with animals on? coincedence?

      Windu - 2011-03-11 16:23

      There is no scientific evidence that a species can change the number of chromosomes within the DNA. The chromosome count within each species is fixed. This is the reason a male from one species cannot mate successfully with a female of another species. Man could not evolve from a monkey. Each species is locked into its chromosome count that cannot change. If an animal developed an extra chromosome or lost a chromosome because of some deformity, it could not successfully mate. The defect could not be passed along to the next generation. Evolving a new species is scientifically impossible. Evolutionists prove that getting a college education does not impart wisdom.

      JohnnyWotten - 2011-03-11 17:15

      @Windu, would you care to explain Downs Syndrome?

      Windu - 2011-03-11 17:46

      @JohnnyWotten. Why bother, it is a chromosome abnormality, but if Evolution was in play - this challenge would have been eliminated many thousands of years ago based on Darwin's theory. Most chromosome anomalies occur as an accident in the egg or sperm, and are therefore not inherited. The anomaly is present in every cell of the body. Some anomalies, however, can happen after conception. Not sure what this has to do with inter-species mating? Are you trying to suggest that Downs Syndrome can make homo-sapiens compliant with another species? What is your point?

      JohnnyWotten - 2011-03-11 18:04

      @Windu, you opened your previous argument with the statement that a species cannot change the number of chromosomes present in its DNA. My point is that it happens all the time.

      Windu - 2011-03-11 20:12

      @JohnnyWotten. Why bother, it is a chromosome abnormality, but if Evolution was in play - this challenge would have been eliminated many thousands of years ago based on Darwin's theory. Most chromosome anomalies occur as an accident in the egg or sperm, and are therefore not inherited. The anomaly is present in every cell of the body. Some anomalies, however, can happen after conception. Not sure what this has to do with inter-species mating? Are you trying to suggest that Downs Syndrome can make homo-sapiens compliant with another species? What is your point?

      Windu - 2011-03-11 20:33

      @JohnnyWotten. Hence why Downs Syndrome is classified by Scientists as an ANOMALY. You point is totally invalid in an evolution context. In the case you are trying to present, anomalies would be the norm, meaning that our species would be evolving towards Downs Syndrome as a new 'accepted DNA map' for Homo-sapiens. More so, this evolution would create for separate breeding bonds with other species. So anomalies may happen all the time, but this is NOT considered evolution (or advanced remapping of an existing DNA). So can I assume that you would believe a 2-headed Rattler in the USA is an evolution to a new species of reptile? Would this 2-headed snake now find breeding methods with another species to create a new DNA Map? Start making some proper points to an argument, instead of asking immaterial questions.

      bmpdragon - 2011-03-12 00:56

      Windu, there is plenty of evidence that a species can change its chromosomal count without overly harmful effects (and sometimes even beneficial effects). Take XYY syndrome (the so-called “supermales”), for example. Polyploid species are found throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Humans have one chromosome pair less than the great apes: it seems that this pair fused in humans. You should note that chromosomal difference is not the only factor in speciation (i.e. gene mutation within existing chromosomal DNA could sufficiently alter behaviour and appearance to create a new species). Also, DNA is contained within chromosomes. Segments of DNA that code for a particular amino acid or protein are known as genes. Anomalies within these genes are known as mutations. Any mutations that are neutral (non-coding) or beneficial may improve the fitness (survivability) of a breeding individual and their offspring. It seems that a university/college education does impart wisdom after all! Try to tone down your hubris (wasn’t that the cardinal sin?): many of these university/college educated scientists have read more, studied more, comprehend more, experimented more, experienced more and have a higher IQ than you.

      JohnnyWotten - 2011-03-12 15:39

      @Windu, if you don't want to get called out then don't open your arguments with false statements.

  • donovan richmond - 2011-03-11 16:21

    here is something to think about: if we look at the dates on the geologic colomn,it is telling us that for millions of years there was just one type of rock on the surface of the earth,does that make sense? one type of rock for millions of years? where did all the other zillions of tons of other rock material come from? it came from a flood! and it was there from the beggining, there we no millions of years involved, do some research on the carlsbad caverns,it was origeonaly thought that they formed over 200million years, how ever modern scientific research has proven thay they actually took about one year to form!do you know that fossilized trees have been found going through many layers of the geologic time colomn? some even with portions in coal seams? now tell me something-is the top of the tree 50million years old and the bottom 100?? or was there a giant flood that demolished the earth???

  • CTScientist - 2011-03-12 07:28

    "Most are also missing in Neanderthals, which means they dropped out the pathway leading to our species at least 500 000 years ago, before the evolutionary split with our doomed, cave-dwelling cousins." I like this quote. Completely ignores the fact that Cro-Magnon's moving into Europe at the same time were *also* living in caves. :P

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