Re: Dawkins & Convergent Evolution- the final word (?)

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sat Sep 08 2001 - 20:29:57 BST

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    From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
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    Subject: Re: Dawkins & Convergent Evolution- the final word (?)
    Date: Sat, 8 Sep 2001 21:29:57 +0200
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Dace <>
    To: <>
    > F. W. Went studied convergence among shrubs in New Zealand. He found
    > 50 species of shrubs that had independently developed the same pattern of
    > "interlaced, tortuous branches and reduced leaves." This would presumably
    > have protected them from herbivores. But there are no herbivores native
    > New Zealand. Moreover, this pattern "occurs in so many shrubs from
    > different habitats, it does not seem to be an adaptation to the
    > environment." He provides several other examples of convergence which he
    > contends cannot be explained by natural selection. He argues that the
    > chromosomes associated with these traits must have somehow hopped across
    > species. (Went, "Parallel Evolution," Taxon 20:197-226, 1971.)

    Hi Dace,

    The same affect is playing among lemmings which do eat the vegetation
    in large amounts, and in such amounts that they starve.
    They starve because 1_ the vegetation changes into species which the
    lemmings don 't like and 2_ the vegetation, like Went said, developed
    patterns by which they were protected from hervivores.
    In the first case, the changes are ' fast ', in the second case, the change
    is ' slow '.

    I find the second case more strange than the first and that due to the
    fact that slowly changing in order to keep the lemmings away would
    have, in natural selection- time, no effect.
    In the worst case, lemmings could co- adapted the change in the vege-
    tation, so why change !?

    Could this be explained as an example of convergence by which both
    the plant and the animal " evolves " in a seperate and specific niche !?
    Just a thought.



    ( I am, because we are)

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