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Evolution in ACTION.

18 July 2012, 15:07

It amazes me how some people who can believe in something without a shred of proof, refuse to believe in something with a whole mountain of evidence. Evolution has been proven through three major avenues. They are experiments that show evolution, genetics and the fossil record. I will now use examples of all three to demonstrate the proof, some of it you can actually hold in your hands. Oooh, how exciting.

Lets start with the fossil record, the best visual evidence. I will be one of the first people to admit that the fossil record is incomplete. This is quite logical seeing as fossilization is a rare event. But when you look at it, you can trace how life started as single cell organisms and then moved to more complicated versions. A good example of this are the sauropods. Sauropods were extremely large dinosaurs that grew so large that it is theorized that only the young, old and sick were ever in any danger from a predator. From the first sauropod to the last, it is clear that change was abundant. You can also see how their predators changed alongside them. The tyrannosaur family grew larger, their hunting equipment became better (smell, hearing etc.) and this too is evident in the fossil record. So, with these types of evidence, where one can literally see the change over time, it is quite hard to say evolution doesnt happen. But die hards will persist.

So how about dna evidence. Well there is a wealth of it and quite a few Christians agree. You see, with the mapping of the human genome, along with several other animals, its easy to look very closely at our ancestry (its all there in the dna, like a record of every single creature that came before us) and see that we share quite a few ancestors with several animals. In fact, we are all part of a group of creatures called tetrapods, which the most common version are fish. But, this might be a bit far off to imagine for some people, so lets look at our closest relative, the common chimp. We share between 98 and 99 % of our dna with chimps. Now, in biological terms, we split from chimps round about 5million years ago. It seems like chimps are profoundly different to us, but there are quite a few characteristic similarities. The obvious is the physical, but lets not go into that, its too obvious. Chimps use tools in order to obtain food (google it). Chimps wage wars for territory (google it). Chimps put a lot of time into rearing their young (once again, google it). The similarities goes on and on. The most telling though was when Alexander the Great fell into India, he fought several battles with men who were hairy and lived in trees. Can you guess which tribe they were? The Chimpanzee tribe. But all joking aside, the dna evidence, which maps all our ancestors, from our mom's and dad's all the way to the very fist creature that came into existence that eventually ended up in you and me, shows clearly that we had that same ancestor. Its not something that can be refuted. The dna doesnt lie. In fact, its considered such solid science that whole murder trials proof be won and lost on it.

But what of the last piece, the ones we can see with our naked eyes. Let me take a moment here, before I delve into this piece, in explaining something about evolution. Some people think that evolution means that chicken will lay an egg and a brand new creature will just magically hatch. The thing is, the mother is the same species as the offspring. Over time, certain characteristics develop through the family tree until another species exists. You wont see the difference if you look at each individual ancestor, each in its turn, but you will see if you look at the first animal and the last. There are many experiments which show this, from insects to plants, all which the natural selection is simulated by artificial selection. But the experiment that is the most telling to me, is the Silver Fox experiment (google it, its well documented). This experiment began during Soviet Russia and is still going today (though, without the budget that was received from the soviets, they are getting ever closer to shutting down). The experiment was initially started to show how humans tamed wolves and from there bred the several types of dogs we have today. It started off, with a group of breeding pairs of Silver Foxes. From their first litters, the scientists selected the ones that they could closest to without them running away. These they bred with each other and from their litters, they repeated the process. Each litter in turn produced more docile animals. Now here comes the interesting part, over generations, the animals changed. Their colors became different, their tails became different, their ears became different. In fact, it looked like a brand new species. Their entire behavior had also changed from the original breeding stock of Silver Foxes. In fact, the change had been so drastic, that even their dna is different to that of Silver Foxes. In fact, it looked like a brand new species, well because it was a brand new species, that evolved through artificial selection within a certain gene pool, and became, the Domesticated Fox. You can buy these animals, and in fact this is the way the experiment is being funded. So, if you want to own a piece of evolution, just get yourself a newly evolved Domestic Fox. 

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