Reply To: How much of Evolution?

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[quote:30g29kvk]To me, it doesn’t make sense that some animal a long long long time ago decided that “Hey, I want to eat from the trees above not the bushes or grass, so I’m gonna stretch my neck and hopefully one day I’ll have a long neck and in a million years my relatives can eat from the tree” (Giraffe)… Does that make sense at all??? Not to me. [/quote:30g29kvk]
Actually, it doesn’t make sense at all. That’s Lamarck’s theory of evolution, and it predates Darwin. I can’t talk much about the whole religious aspect to evolution, but I took sophomore biology and this is the only part of it I remember in any detail.

With the giraffes, it would be more that little mutant baby giraffes were born who had longer legs and longer necks. They went to eat with their ordinary-looking brothers and sisters and could reach leaves that were higher up, so they ate more, survived longer, and produced more little mutant baby giraffes with longer necks. So all the short-necked giraffes died out because the long-necked ones were eating more, taking more food for themselves, and having more offspring. So eventually either the long-necked giraffes became a different species from the short-necks, or the short-necks died out.

Right now it’s really hard to observe any animals undergoing genetic change because it takes thousands of years to get a big enough population of little mutant baby whatevers to consider it a change in species. The examples we were given of modern evolution were in diseases, because they adapt more quickly (giving rise to the superbug phenomenon). Since you can get a little mutant baby virus in fifteen minutes, which sure beats our twenty-year generations by a long shot, they’re better to study for evolution.