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    21 Aug '14 17:146 edits
    Until now, speciation without any involvement of geographical isolation was generally assumed to be very rare if it happens at all. But now a new species of ant has been discovered with evidence that it evolved along side its original species while living in exactly the same colony of its original species thus posing a potential challenge to this traditional assumption although the possibility that this is just a freak one-off exception hasn't been ruled out.
    The new ant species is a social-parasitic species that feeds off the food stores in the colony of its original species without giving anything back in return. So, if each ant in the colony is considered analogous to a cell of a body then these parasitic ants can be considered to be analogous to cancer cells because they are like mutant cells of the body that have mutated (evolved to be more precise ) to take nutrients (food in this case ) and room within the body (the colony ) without giving anything back in return thus doing nothing but harm to the host body.

    http://phys.org/news/2014-08-alternate-mechanism-species-formation-south.html

    "....Alternate mechanism of species formation picks up support, thanks to a South American ant

    A newly-discovered species of ant supports a controversial theory of species formation. The ant, known to live only under a single eucalyptus tree on the São Paulo State University campus in Brazil, branched off from its original species while living in the same colony, something thought rare in current models of evolutionary development.



    "Most new species come about in geographic isolation," said Christian Rabeling, assistant professor of biology at the University of Rochester. "We now have evidence that speciation can take place within a single colony."

    The findings by Rabeling and the research team were published today in the journal Current Biology.

    In discovering the parasitic Mycocepurus castrator, Rabeling and his colleagues uncovered an example of a still-controversial theory known as sympatric speciation, which occurs when a new species develops while sharing the same geographic area with its parent species, yet reproducing on its own."While sympatric speciation is more difficult to prove," said Rabeling, "we believe we are in the process of actually documenting a particular kind of evolution-in-progress."

    New species are formed when its members are no longer able to reproduce with members of the parent species. The commonly-accepted mechanism is called allopatric speciation, in which geographic barriers—such as mountains—separate members of a group, causing them to evolve independently.

    "Since Darwin's Origin of Species, evolutionary biologists have long debated whether two species can evolve from a common ancestor without being geographically isolated from each other," said Ted Schultz, curator of ants at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and co-author of the study. "With this study, we offer a compelling case for sympatric evolution that will open new conversations in the debate about speciation in these ants, social insects and evolutionary biology more generally." M. castrator is not simply another ant in the colony; it's a parasite that lives with—and off of—its host, Mycocepurus goeldii. The host is a fungus-growing ant that cultivates fungus for its nutritional value, both for itself and, indirectly, for its parasite, which does not participate in the work of growing the fungus garden. That led the researchers to study the genetic relationships of all fungus-growing ants in South America, including all 11 known species of the genus Mycocepurus, to determine whether the parasite did evolve from its presumed host. They found that the parasitic ants were, indeed, genetically very close to M. goeldii, but not to the other ant species.

    They also determined that the parasitic ants were no longer reproductively compatible with the host ants—making them a unique species—and had stopped reproducing with their host a mere 37,000 years ago—a very short period on the evolutionary scale.

    A big clue for the research team was found by comparing the ants' genes, both in the cell's nucleus as well as in the mitochondria—the energy-producing structures in the cells. Genes are made of units called nucleotides, and Rabeling found that the sequencing of those nucleotides in the mitochondria is beginning to look different from what is found in the host ants, but that the genes in the nucleus still have traces of the relationship between host and parasite, leading him to conclude that M. castrator has begun to evolve away from its host.

    Rabeling explained that just comparing some nuclear and mitochondrial genes may not be enough to demonstrate that the parasitic ants are a completely new species. "We are now sequencing the entire mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of these parasitic ants and their host in an effort to confirm speciation."

    The parasitic ants need to exercise discretion because taking advantage of the host species is considered taboo in ant society. Offending ants have been known to be killed by worker mobs. As a result, the parasitic queen of the new species has evolved into a smaller size, making them difficult to distinguish from a host worker.

    Host queens and males reproduce in an aerial ceremony only during a particular season when it begins to rain. Rabeling found that the parasitic queens and males, needing to be more discreet about their reproductive activities, ignore seasonal cues. By needing to hide their parasitic identity, M. castrator males and females lost their special adaptations that allowed them to reproduce in flight, making it impossible for them to sexually interact with their host species.
    ..."
  2. Subscribersonhouse
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    21 Aug '14 18:43
    Originally posted by humy
    Until now, speciation without any involvement of geographical isolation was generally assumed to be very rare if it happens at all. But now a new species of ant has been discovered with evidence that it evolved along side its original species while living in exactly the same colony of its original species thus posing a potential challenge to this traditional as ...[text shortened]... uce in flight, making it impossible for them to sexually interact with their host species.
    ..."
    So that person that will remain nameless would say Bah humbug, just adaptation.
  3. Standard memberDeepThought
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    21 Aug '14 20:16
    Originally posted by humy
    Until now, speciation without any involvement of geographical isolation was generally assumed to be very rare if it happens at all. But now a new species of ant has been discovered with evidence that it evolved along side its original species while living in exactly the same colony of its original species thus posing a potential challenge to this traditional as ...[text shortened]... uce in flight, making it impossible for them to sexually interact with their host species.
    ..."
    Good spot, this is a big story. It changes how we think about evolution. I wonder if this can happen in humans?
  4. Subscribersonhouse
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    21 Aug '14 23:35
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Good spot, this is a big story. It changes how we think about evolution. I wonder if this can happen in humans?
    Is this epigenetic evolution?
  5. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    22 Aug '14 05:461 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    So that person that will remain nameless would say Bah humbug, just adaptation.
    "new ant species evolved from original species while living in the same colony" (humy's thread title)

    Would this unique development be viewed as microevolution within the ant species in which ants produce ants?
  6. Cape Town
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    22 Aug '14 06:01
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    "new ant species evolved from original species while living in the same colony" (humy's thread title)

    Would this unique development be viewed as microevolution within the ant species in which ants produce ants?
    Yes, YECs would view it that way, although some would refuse to use the word 'evolution' for political reasons. In reality however, 'ant' is a man made classification and it is ridiculous to think that it somehow provides a limitation to biology.
  7. Joined
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    22 Aug '14 07:261 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    "new ant species evolved from original species while living in the same colony" (humy's thread title)

    Would this unique development be viewed as microevolution within the ant species in which ants produce ants?
    In that contrived narrow sense, yes. But its still macroevolution because it still involves the evolution of a new species of ant that doesn't cross breed with its original species.

    If a species of bacteria evolved into a mammal (like it once did a very long time ago via a large series of transitional species including fish and reptiles ) you could ask "Would this unique development be viewed as microevolution within the kingdom of all living things in which a living thing produce a living thing?". Then I would say that is too contrived and insist that it is macroevolution, not microevolution, by any reasonable definition.
  8. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    22 Aug '14 09:25
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Yes, YECs would view it that way, although some would refuse to use the word 'evolution' for political reasons. In reality however, 'ant' is a man made classification and it is ridiculous to think that it somehow provides a limitation to biology.
    "... for political reasons": Why?
  9. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    22 Aug '14 09:38
    Originally posted by humy
    In that contrived narrow sense, yes. But its still macroevolution because it still involves the evolution of a new species of ant that doesn't cross breed with its original species.

    If a species of bacteria evolved into a mammal (like it once did a very long time ago via a large series of transitional species including fish and reptiles ) you could ask "Wou ...[text shortened]... ontrived and insist that it is macroevolution, not microevolution, by any reasonable definition.
    With cross breeding different breeds of dogs develop but to the best of my knowledge dogs don't produce cats nor maple trees produce oranges. Each species bears its own kind. Whether it's called micro, macro or humyevolution ants still produce ants. At least this would be my perspective. Am I wrong? By the way, thanks for an interesting and informative thread.
  10. Subscribersonhouse
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    22 Aug '14 11:251 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    With cross breeding different breeds of dogs develop but to the best of my knowledge dogs don't produce cats nor maple trees produce oranges. Each species bears its own kind. Whether it's called micro, macro or humyevolution ants still produce ants. At least this would be my perspective. Am I wrong? By the way, thanks for an interesting and informative thread.
    I think we are quibbling about semantics and the theological implications, a new species is one that cannot reproduce with another, like these two. They are still ants, sure, but the insistence of theologians to reproduce kind for kind is only an argument that will have a limited lifespan, since geneticists I am quite sure will at some point in the future, 10 years, 100 years, whatever, be able to take a tree and turn it into a rose, or take a frog and turn it into a lizard.

    At that point religious arguments will take a nosedive.

    All the anti-science stance given by YEC's especially, will have to change eventually. No doubt at that point, a frog becomes a lizard or some such, YEC's would simply move the goalpost and say something like 'this is the work of the devil' or some such.

    Using the word 'kind' is a give away to a religious stance.

    Bob, how much more of my musical posts have you listened to? Hear any Bernt yet?
  11. Cape Town
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    22 Aug '14 12:00
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    "... for political reasons": Why?
    Many YECs are so anti-evolution that they refuse to use the word even for things that they accept.
  12. Cape Town
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    22 Aug '14 12:171 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    With cross breeding different breeds of dogs develop...
    They also develop via selective breeding (a very different thing from cross breeding).

    ...but to the best of my knowledge dogs don't produce cats nor maple trees produce oranges.
    The possibilities for life is so vast that it is so highly improbable that a species would evolve into a previously existing species that it has probably never happened in the history of life. So yes, one would not expect a dog to evolve into a cat or maple tree.

    Each species bears its own kind.
    That doesn't follow from your previous statement. Your previous statement says that dogs don't evolve into cats. It doesn't say that dogs don't evolve into something new, that is not a dog.
    In fact, if you were to cross breed a dog and a wolf, the result would not be a dog - although by current scientific classification dogs and wolves are the same species.
    But there are instances of interbreeding across species such as Ligers or Mules.
    Your statement that 'each species bears its own kind' betrays your YEC bias. You didn't say 'each species bears its own species' because you know you would be caught out. So instead you use the vague word 'kind' which has no real definition in this instance. The moment someone points out a violation of the claim you will adjust the definition.

    Whether it's called micro, macro or humyevolution ants still produce ants. At least this would be my perspective. Am I wrong?
    You are vague. At one point you mention dogs, and another you talk of ants, as if the two groups are comparable. In reality, 'dog' is a subspecies of Canis lupus which includes dogs, wolves and dingos. Whereas 'ant' is a family with over 12,000 known species.
  13. Subscribersonhouse
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    22 Aug '14 12:31
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    They also develop via selective breeding (a very different thing from cross breeding).

    [b]...but to the best of my knowledge dogs don't produce cats nor maple trees produce oranges.

    The possibilities for life is so vast that it is so highly improbable that a species would evolve into a previously existing species that it has probably never happene ...[text shortened]... hich includes dogs, wolves and dingos. Whereas 'ant' is a family with over 12,000 known species.[/b]
    Following up on that, suppose you have a geneticist who turns a bee into a hornet. Is that the same 'kind' or is that now a different 'kind'?
  14. Standard memberforkedknight
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    22 Aug '14 16:01
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Many YECs are so anti-evolution that they refuse to use the word even for things that they accept.
    Wait, so after months of trolling and bickering, you guys still want to talk about YECs and how dumb they are, but you don't want any YECs in the thread?
  15. Cape Town
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    22 Aug '14 16:26
    Originally posted by forkedknight
    Wait, so after months of trolling and bickering, you guys still want to talk about YECs and how dumb they are, but you don't want any YECs in the thread?
    I have absolutely no problem with YECs in the thread if they are here to discuss science.
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