From: Dace (
Date: Wed Aug 08 2001 - 21:09:56 BST

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    Subject: Convergence
    Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 13:09:56 -0700
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    It's well known that atavistic traits commonly pop up among developing
    organisms. A feral pig is liable to develop tusks. Horses occasionally
    grow extra toes. Humans are sometimes born with a small tail. Such things
    can be expected if we do indeed resonate with past forms. But they can also
    be explained according to the genetic model. What can't be explained
    genetically is parallel evolution, or "convergence." Among plants and
    animals, we continually find new examples of organisms widely separated in
    their phylogenetic derivation which nonetheless develop remarkably similar
    forms. In New Zealand we find many kinds of leaves common to Eurasia which
    serve to fend off herbivores that don't exist in New Zealand. There seems
    to be no reason why marsupials and mammals would develop such incredibly
    similar forms. Why should butterflies or fish of different species in
    different locations develop almost identical color patterns on their wings
    or scales? In some cases animals mimic others that are poisonous to
    predators and are thus avoided by predators along with the poisonous
    varieties. But this explanation fails to apply in the vast majority of

    Dawkins discusses this dilemma in The Blind Watchmaker: "It is vanishingly
    improbable that the same evolutionary pathway should ever be followed twice.
    And it would seem similarly improbable, for the same statistical reasons,
    that two lines of evolution should converge on the same endpoint from
    different starting points. It is all the more striking... that numerous
    examples can be found in real nature, in which independent lines of
    eovlution appear to have converged, from very different starting points, on
    what looks very like the same end-point."

    According to Sheldrake's model, organic systems resonate with similar
    systems. We resonate with ourselves individually, with our species, and
    with any other species which is similar enough to our own. If flying
    squirrels, jerboas, and moles are all emerging in both Australia and
    Eurasia, they will be drawn into similar evolutionary pathways due to their
    resonance with each other. Outside of this model, there's no explanation
    for convergent evolution.

    Ted Dace

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