Awe at Echolocation? Nah, Convergence Again

first_imgEvolution Recommended Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Intelligent Design Awe at Echolocation? Nah, Convergence AgainEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCOctober 9, 2018, 12:04 PM “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Thomas Kuhn described normal science as a puzzle-solving project, in which members of the guild don’t question the picture they imagine on the box top (the paradigm). So focused are they on making the pieces fit, they could be failing to appreciate the wonders coming to light in the picture itself. You can see an example of this in two papers about echolocation; a discussion of the second of these will follow tomorrow. Think of the awe any sensitive person, even a scientist, should feel as he thinks about biosonar! Imagine the ability to bounce sound off objects in the dark and gain precise information about shapes, textures, and motions. Bats do it. Whales do it. Captain Dave Anderson, who leads whale-watching tours in California, said that a dolphin can tell the difference between a golf ball and a ping-pong ball by sound alone (Illustra Media, Living Waters). That’s not just echolocation. It is “indistinguishable from magic,” in Arthur C. Clarke’s famous comment about sufficiently advanced technology. Illustra’s animation of dolphin sonar reveals numerous complex parts working together to make this possible. Artificial sonar doesn’t come close.Out of FocusHow does echolocation work? Shouldn’t that be a focus in science? It is for some scientists, who eagerly learn all they can about sonar in toothed whales and bats for the sheer pleasure of understanding a complex biological system that works superbly well. It is, too, for some engineers, who explore design principles in biological sonar that might have applications for human technology. But for many evolutionary biologists, there seems to be an obsession with homology. Some Darwinists will strain over the smallest details, down to single amino acids, to force uncooperative puzzle pieces together that might show how bats are related to whales. Do people on a whale-watching boat care about that? Should they?In Science Advances, a team of ten evolutionary biologists from Germany announce finding “Molecular parallelism in fast-twitch muscle proteins in echolocating mammals.” You feel their passion for the puzzle in the opening sentence: “Detecting associations between genomic changes and phenotypic differences is fundamental to understanding how phenotypes evolved.” From there, they dive into the nitty-gritty details amino acids that might hint at evolutionary relationships:By systematically screening for parallel amino acid substitutions, we detected known as well as novel cases (Strc, Tecta, and Cabp2) of parallelism between echolocating bats and toothed whales in proteins that could contribute to high-frequency hearing adaptations. Our screen also showed that echolocating mammals exhibit an unusually high number of parallel substitutions in fast-twitch muscle fiber proteins. Both echolocating bats and toothed whales produce an extremely rapid call rate when homing in on their prey, which was shown in bats to be powered by specialized superfast muscles. We show that these genes with parallel substitutions (Casq1, Atp2a1, Myh2, and Myl1) are expressed in the superfast sound-producing muscle of bats. Furthermore, we found that the calcium storage protein calsequestrin 1 of the little brown bat and the bottlenose dolphin functionally converged in its ability to form calcium-sequestering polymers at lower calcium concentrations, which may contribute to rapid calcium transients required for superfast muscle physiology. The proteins that our genomic screen detected could be involved in the convergent evolution of vocalization in echolocating mammals by potentially contributing to both rapid Ca2+ transients and increased shortening velocities in superfast muscles. [Emphasis added.]Hammer Seeks NailWell! So much for appreciating “an extremely rapid call rate” or “superfast muscles.” This team wants to see homology. It has a Darwin-brand hammer and sees everything as a nail. In order to preserve common ancestry, they are willing to find convergent evolution in function, even when the molecular homology fails.An important aspect to understanding how nature’s phenotypic diversity evolved is to detect the genomic differences that are associated with phenotypic differences. Despite numerous sequenced genomes, detecting such associations remains a challenge. Convergent evolution, which refers to the repeated evolution of similar phenotypes in independent lineages, offers a paradigm to computationally screen genomes for molecular changes that evolved in parallel in these lineages and thus could be involved in the phenotypic difference.The e-word, evolution, saturates this paper. Molecular evolution. Parallel evolution. Neutral evolution. Evolutionary tinkering. Whatever it takes, they are going to keep the Darwin puzzle pieces together, even when homology is not evident in the genes. Withering on the lab counter, meanwhile, is awe for the wonder of echolocation.There is a brief moment of wonder, but it quickly is swallowed up by evolution:Superfast muscles consist of specialized fibers capable of contracting and relaxing at a rate that is an order of magnitude higher compared to the fastest locomotor muscles. To achieve this extraordinarily high rate, superfast muscles have evolved a number of key adaptations….Oddly, the only kind of natural selection they mention is “purifying selection.” Also called negative selection, purifying selection refers to the removal of deleterious mutations. You’ll never build a sonar system that way. To them, it’s OK. They already know it evolved. “Evolution is a fact, fact, FACT!”, as Michael Ruse put it, remember?Photo credit: Dolphins, by werdepate, via Pixabay. Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesiscenter_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man TagsArthur C. ClarkeawebatsCabp2Captain Dave Andersonconvergent evolutionDarwinian theorydolphinsecholocationgenesGermanygolf ballIllustra MediaLiving WatersmammalsMichael Rusemolecular evolutionmutationsnatural selectionneutral evolutionparallel evolutionphenotypic diversityping-pong ballpurifying selectionScience AdvancessonarStrcTectaThomas Kuhntoothed whaleswhaleswonder,Trending Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. 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Summer Institute in Technical Art History for Doctoral Students, NY

first_img LinkedIn 0 Share 0 2020 Facebook Fellowship Program Reddit Deadline: 25 March 2013Open to: Students currently enrolled in or completing a doctoral program in the US and CanadaVenue: New York, June 10-21, 2013DescriptionTechnical methodologies and material analyses are becoming increasingly prevalent in the scholarship of Modern and Contemporary art. Theoretical Subjectivities is a two-week, intensive seminar that examines how technical art history might simultaneously clarify and complicate established Post-war art historical narratives. Under the direction of distinguished conservators, scholars and technical art historians, participants will consider specific artworks as case studies, examine materiality and process, and receive an introduction to imaging and analytical techniques. Participants will ascertain how these methodologies materially and theoretically inform their own diverse research interests. This seminar will provide a forum to develop critical skills in the interpretation of object-based analyses related to the scholarship of Post-war art.Artworks under consideration will span multiple decades, including objects associated with Kinetic Art, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism and Conceptualism, as well as contemporary examples that defy genre. Specific case studies will question whether kinetic artworks must be functional to have agency. How might issues of material authenticity and post studio fabrication challenge the ontology of an object? How might the degradation of an object’s materials disavow its status as a work of art? What does the shifting nature of the readymade tell us about issues of originality?EligibilityStudents currently enrolled in or completing a doctoral program in the US and Canada are eligible to apply. No background in science or conservation is required. A maximum of fifteen participants will be admitted to the program. Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their academic accomplishment to date and on their expressed interest in integrating technical art history into their own research.Application procedureApplicants should submit a cover letter, a statement of purpose of interest in integrating technical art history into their research, a letter of support from their advisor that addresses their academic standing and their interest in the topic, and an academic and professional CV addressed to: Mellon Summer Institute in Technical Art History, attn.: Professor Michele Marincola, Sherman Fairchild Chairman, The Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 14 East 78th Street, New York NY 10075. The application deadline is March 25, 2013. Please submit applications in electronic format to: Sarah Barack, course coordinator, [email protected] will receive housing (single room occupancy) and stipends of $1,300 to help defray travel and living costs.ContactFor further information, please contact: Professor Michele Marincola at 212-992-5849, email: [email protected] official website. Tweet March 21, 2013 Published by turpis Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment. STIBET Scholarships for International Studentscenter_img Summer Institute in Technical Art History for Doctoral Students, NY Pocket History Fest Sarajevo – Call for Applications +1 Similar Stories ← Visegrad Summer School in Cracow, Poland German-Eastern European Journalists Scholarship →last_img read more

City Foundation weekly winners (November 21st)

first_imgThe winners of this week’s City Foundation draw (November 21st) are as follows:Weekly Rollover £2100.00 – No winner £50 WinnerMichael Bamford (A5173)£20 Winners:Heather Virgin (A9887)Daniel Matchwick (B9610)John Smith (A4619)Denise Fricker (A6160)Michael Bosdet (A3694)All money raised through City Foundation is donated directly to Bristol City Robins Foundation, enabling them to carry out their incredible work in the local community.To become a member and be in with a chance of winning a share of over £45,000 throughout the 2019/20 campaign as well as access to exclusive member events, sign up now for just £2.20 a week!Sign up nowlast_img