Who needs night vision? When evolution means going blind

Becoming eyeless is an adaptation of sorts, no?

ScienceDaily (Sep. 15, 2010) – University of Maryland biologists have identified how changes in both behavior and genetics led to the evolution of the Mexican blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus) from its sighted, surface-dwelling ancestor. In research published in the August 12, 2010 online edition of the journal Current Biology, Professor William Jeffery, together with postdoctoral associates Masato Yoshizawa, and Å pela Goricki, and Assistant Professor Daphne Soares in the Department of Biology, provide new information that shows how behavioral and genetic traits coevolved to compensate for the loss of vision in cavefish and to help them find food in darkness.

This is the first time that a clear link has been identified between behavior, genetics, and evolution in Mexican blind cavefish, which are considered an excellent model for studying evolution.

Actually, to the extent that the cavefish lost a trait rather than gained one, what we are studying here is devolution rather than evolution. Just how the main different types of eye evolved is a fascinating topic. How traits can get lost is interesting too, but not as relevant to the question of how great gains in information really occur.

Also, just up at Access Research Network:

But shame on us all for lacking credulity anyway

Canada's Burgess Shale fossils have next-door neighbors, itturns out

Monkey economy, like human economy, irrational ?

Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

The Ida fossil? I dunno …

Here’s David Warren on Ida, our supposed fossil ancestor:

The principal hype artist in this case – Dr. Hurum mentioned above — has done several similar splashes. The last one he styled “Predator X.” It was mounted on the discovery in Svalbard of part of the jaw of a large and carnivorous Pliosaur that swam the oceans of the Jurassic. That, too, was nothing special: just a better-than-usual chunk of fossil evidence for an animal that was hardly new to science. But an integrated multi-media presentation of a science fiction monster, extrapolated loosely from that jaw fragment, was ready-to-air when the discovery was announced.

PS: Look how low the dying Los Angeles Times needs to reach, in order to malign results-driven schools.

Also just up at The Post-Darwinist:

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