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Hare’s winter white, peppered moths, and natural selection (sans biology)

Posted on April 19, 2013 by James Kohl.

Taking note of Tinbergen, or: the promise of a biology of behaviour.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, May 19, 2013 [subscription required]. Barrett, Louise; Blumstein, Daniel T.; Clutton-Brock, Timothy H.; Kappeler, Peter M.

Abstract: In this concluding paper, we revisit Tinbergen’s 1963 article and assess its impact on the field of behavioural research in general, and the papers in this volume in particular. We show how Tinbergen’s insistence that greater attention should be paid to studies of ‘survival value’ has yielded immense returns over the past 50 years, allowing an integrative biology of behaviour to emerge and thrive, and that his addition of ontogeny to the ‘major problems of biology’ was both insightful and prescient.

Excerpt: “…improved molecular and genetic techniques that permit the study of gene–environment interactions, as well as epigenetic and epistatic effects, to the increased computing power that has enabled more powerful forms of statistical and phylogenetic analyses) have allowed us to conduct more sophisticated, wide-ranging studies that naturally combine two or more levels of explanation.”

Excerpt: “The papers in this volume suggest that Tinbergen’s thesis has been proven and the promise of a unified Biology of Behaviour is now coming to fruition.”

My comment: Darwin’s ‘conditions of existence’ and Tinbergen’s ‘survival value’ are one in the same. When viewed in context of the Biology of Behavior, works by Darwin and by Tinbergen should have helped others to long-ago determine the obvious fact that adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Instead, a moderator of several yahoo discussion groups has today decided:

“I’ve seen enough of “nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution” for one life and have numerous complaints on the same issue.

You will have to find somewhere else to push your unpopular model of Evolution.”

I’m left to wonder who is complaining about the only existing model of adaptive evolution at a time when the unified Biology of Behaviour is at hand. Are those who complain the same people who think that random mutations cause evolution? Is there a model for that?

I also wonder what led the moderator to think that my award-winning model is unpopular. No matter, he and other like him will always have their comparatively useless theories of evolution and natural selection for visually perceived phenotypic expression (e.g., of color).

15 April 2013 | ECOLOGY

Color-Changing Hare Can’t Keep Up With Climate Change

Winter white becomes a lagomorph’s liability when snow melts early

My comment: The theory that industrial pollution caused natural selection to enable changes in color in the peppered moth example of species diversity again rears it’s scientifically underpowered and statistically flawed head. Here, in hares, climate change will supposedly also result in a similar example of natural selection via predation.

No need for a model of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution or explanations of cause and effect in species from microbes to man (e.g., in my model). Hares and moths now both can be used to misrepresent the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization required to link sensory input to genetically predisposed species-specific behaviors.

Obviously, there are theorists who think that selective predation plays a larger role that food odors or pheromones play in survival of the species. The problem is that the theorists don’t understand biologically based cause and effect. Nevertheless, most people don’t understand it, either.  That’s probably why biologically based models of adaptive evolution are not very popular; they’re right (sans mutations)! People understand mutations theory, even though it’s wrong.





James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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