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ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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16 Feb 2015, 4:23 am

Earlier someone mentioned a fox near his house and how he hoped it didn't get hit by a car and that got me thinking about Theory of Evolution and how incredibly odd it is that any animal still gets hit by vehicles on roads. After countless generations of animals getting hit by cars, hasn't there been enough time for evolution to have occurred? Shouldn't the vast majority of animal species susceptible to being injured or killed by cars have evolved an instinct or awareness of roads and vehicles by now so they can avoid being hit by them?

Where is Theory of Evolution here?



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16 Feb 2015, 4:41 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
Earlier someone mentioned a fox near his house and how he hoped it didn't get hit by a car and that got me thinking about Theory of Evolution and how incredibly odd it is that any animal still gets hit by vehicles on roads. After countless generations of animals getting hit by cars, hasn't there been enough time for evolution to have occurred? Shouldn't the vast majority of animal species susceptible to being injured or killed by cars have evolved an instinct or awareness of roads and vehicles by now so they can avoid being hit by them?

Where is Theory of Evolution here?

watch the birds.. many seem to have either learned or evolved to know that cars don't usually go off the black stuff.. magpies especially


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16 Feb 2015, 5:13 am

Why do humans still get hit by cars?

Earth to Ana: cars have only been around for a little more than a 100 years. That's hardly "countless generations". Even human children still have to be taught to "look both ways". By your logic humans themselves should have evolved an inborn instinct to avoid jay walking, and driving while drinking, and driving while texting, by this time. We obviously havent.

And how do you know that there isnt evolution in that direction in animals starting to happen despite the short time anyway? There are thousands of mammal species in urban areas. And different populations of each species. Some populations of some species probably do learn to avoid roads, and then new populations of the same species come in from the wilder areas beyond cities that dont know from cars. It would be a complex thing to study.



ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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16 Feb 2015, 6:16 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Why do humans still get hit by cars?

Earth to Ana: cars have only been around for a little more than a 100 years. That's hardly "countless generations". Even human children still have to be taught to "look both ways". By your logic humans themselves should have evolved an inborn instinct to avoid jay walking, and driving while drinking, and driving while texting, by this time. We obviously havent.

And how do you know that there isnt evolution in that direction in animals starting to happen despite the short time anyway? There are thousands of mammal species in urban areas. And different populations of each species. Some populations of some species probably do learn to avoid roads, and then new populations of the same species come in from the wilder areas beyond cities that dont know from cars. It would be a complex thing to study.


Oh yes it is countless generations because you have to keep in mind, animals, for the most part, have a much shorter gestation period and shorter life span so quite a large number of generations have come into existence since the first car was invented! Not sure the exact number for each separate species, dogs, cats, squirrels, skunks to name a few, but you can bet it's quite large number have come and gone when you consider wilder animals frequently meet with untimely ends and might only live a few years. So we think humans only have a few generations that have known autos so animals are the same.

How do I know evolution hasn't occurred? Because I see too many animals run into traffic and it is even worse where the person who saw the fox lives. He is near a busy highway and sees a lot of animals hit by the speeding traffic. I saw a pair of geese crossing the road the other day. One made it across because we all stopped but the opposite lanes started moving while the second goose tried to cross so she turned and went back to the other side so it seems these geese, at least, seem to know. I see cats and squirrels run right into tires.



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16 Feb 2015, 6:35 am

ANA for pities sake will you read actual research rather than rely upon your own imagination and intellectual prejudices for information. Evolution occurs when a beneficial mistake enters into the genetic code of a species. This may happen quickly, occasionally changes have been seen to occur in tens of years, but generally it takes thousands of years. Also what you are talking about has more to do with behaviour than it does changes in form, ie adaptations to the physical form will make no difference here. What you are asking for is a genetic change that prevents the animal walking on tarmac. The only possible help here may come in the form of epigenetics (heredity, possibly linked to dna).


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ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo
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16 Feb 2015, 6:43 am

DentArthurDent wrote:
ANA for pities sake will you read actual research rather than rely upon your own imagination and intellectual prejudices for information. Evolution occurs when a beneficial mistake enters into the genetic code of a species. This may happen quickly, occasionally changes have been seen to occur in tens of years, but generally it takes thousands of years. Also what you are talking about has more to do with behaviour than it does changes in form, ie adaptations to the physical form will make no difference here. What you are asking for is a genetic change that prevents the animal walking on tarmac. The only possible help here may come in the form of epigenetics (heredity, possibly linked to dna).

Actually what I am saying is theory of evolution, for you see, the animals lacking an instinct would get hit by cars while the ones that have some instinct wouldn't. This, over time, would leave only the animals with the instinct breeding it would result in all the offspring having an awareness about the dangers of running into traffic. So think about things a bit before accusing me of leaving it all up to my imagination.



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16 Feb 2015, 7:10 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Why do humans still get hit by cars?

Earth to Ana: cars have only been around for a little more than a 100 years. That's hardly "countless generations". Even human children still have to be taught to "look both ways". By your logic humans themselves should have evolved an inborn instinct to avoid jay walking, and driving while drinking, and driving while texting, by this time. We obviously havent.

And how do you know that there isnt evolution in that direction in animals starting to happen despite the short time anyway? There are thousands of mammal species in urban areas. And different populations of each species. Some populations of some species probably do learn to avoid roads, and then new populations of the same species come in from the wilder areas beyond cities that dont know from cars. It would be a complex thing to study.


Oh yes it is countless generations because you have to keep in mind, animals, for the most part, have a much shorter gestation period and shorter life span so quite a large number of generations have come into existence since the first car was invented! Not sure the exact number for each separate species, dogs, cats, squirrels, skunks to name a few, but you can bet it's quite large number have come and gone when you consider wilder animals frequently meet with untimely ends and might only live a few years. So we think humans only have a few generations that have known autos so animals are the same.

How do I know evolution hasn't occurred? Because I see too many animals run into traffic and it is even worse where the person who saw the fox lives. He is near a busy highway and sees a lot of animals hit by the speeding traffic. I saw a pair of geese crossing the road the other day. One made it across because we all stopped but the opposite lanes started moving while the second goose tried to cross so she turned and went back to the other side so it seems these geese, at least, seem to know. I see cats and squirrels run right into tires.

I see road kill. Ive never seen an animal in the act of being hit. But what are the stats. What is the per capita rate that squirrels set run over in your city? You may see more dead squirrels on the road than dead humans, but they remove human bodies faster, and squirrels are more numerous. So per capita-for all you know- it might be that in your town more humans become road kill than do squirrels.

Wild life is moving back into DC area suburbs. There is lot of road kill. But roadkill is not enough to reduce population of animals. So it probably isnt much of a selection factor.

Most mammals become sexually mature and start to breed between one and two years old. So a 100 years would be 100 generations. More than the four or five human generations that would be, but still hardly "countless". It takes thousands of years for evolution to move noticeably.


Youre asking for a mutation to occur that would rewire an animals brain so it would instinctively avoid highways, or instinctly look both ways before crossing without being taught in school to do that. Then youre asking for that same mutation to occur simultaneously and seperately in every species of mammal in the nation you live in, and youre asking for thousands of years of highway driving road kill to select for that mutation in every species. Youre asking too much.



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16 Feb 2015, 7:12 am

Fictional story (to illustrate the process):

Members of the bird species 'munchkin' have a new generation every spring. They dwell on the mainland and live on a diet of tree insects. A storm took a large migrating flock out to sea, to an island a thousand miles from the mainland, too far for them to attempt a return journey. On this island there are not enough insects to support their population, so they supplement it with sea worms that populate the western waters off the island. The sea worms are not easy for them to fish for.

Over time, the island munchkin numbers waxed and waned, barely escaping extinction. Over 5 centuries (500 generations) they experience 5,375 genetic aberrations, but only one of those aberrations has a significant impact - the introduction of webbed feet. The single bird with the webbed feet was so successful at fishing, that all its offspring thrived and eventually overtook the other munchkin birds.

Then along came westerners who taught the native humans to make roads and drive cars. Within 50 years, the munchkin population was reduced to 10% of their number because they were stupidly attracted to the asphalt. During that 50 years, they experienced 2,017 genetic aberrations, none of which reduced their fascination for asphalt. There are now only 20 birds left and they all live in captivity.
The End - The above is all fabricated to give you an idea of the process.

But....

A similar story to the above actually happened to a real species of bird that lives on the Galapagos Islands. I'm sorry, but I forget the species name. The only difference between those birds and their mainland cousins is the addition of webbed feet.


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16 Feb 2015, 7:32 am

Narrator wrote:
ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
Earlier someone mentioned a fox near his house and how he hoped it didn't get hit by a car and that got me thinking about Theory of Evolution and how incredibly odd it is that any animal still gets hit by vehicles on roads. After countless generations of animals getting hit by cars, hasn't there been enough time for evolution to have occurred? Shouldn't the vast majority of animal species susceptible to being injured or killed by cars have evolved an instinct or awareness of roads and vehicles by now so they can avoid being hit by them?

Where is Theory of Evolution here?

watch the birds.. many seem to have either learned or evolved to know that cars don't usually go off the black stuff.. magpies especially


Jacdaws are amazing. Pigeons on the other hand as thick as two planks.
And blackbirds that fly across right in front of my wheels defy logic.
But they usually make the the other side :D



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16 Feb 2015, 7:36 am


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16 Feb 2015, 7:38 am

AspieOtaku, you may want to remove that before a moderator gets to it.


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DentArthurDent
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16 Feb 2015, 11:35 am

Like I said ANA read some actual research. Dawkins is really good on evolution.


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16 Feb 2015, 1:37 pm

This has actually been researched by biologists and a paper published in the journal Current Biology.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213001942#

Quote:
Summary
An estimated 80 million birds are killed by colliding with vehicles on U. S. roads each year [1], and millions more die annually in Europe [2] and elsewhere. Losses to vehicles are a serious problem for which various changes in roadway design and maintenance have been proposed [3]. Yet, given the magnitude of the mortality reported for some species [4], we might expect natural selection to favor individuals that either learn to avoid cars or that have other traits making them less likely to collide with vehicles. If so, the frequency of road kill should decline over time. No information is available for any species on whether the extent of road-associated mortality has changed [2]. During a 30-year study on social behavior and coloniality of cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) in southwestern Nebraska, we found that the frequency of road-killed swallows declined sharply over the 30 years following the birds’ occupancy of roadside nesting sites and that birds killed on roads had longer wings than the population at large.


It looks like there could have been a mutation for shorter wings that made it easier to escape cars.

Quote:
Average wing length of the population as a whole exhibited a significant long-term decline during the years of the study, whereas the opposite pattern held for the birds killed on roads (Figure 1C).


It looks like cars were exerting selection pressure and those with the short wing mutation were more able to quickly swoop out of harm's way, leaving the longer winged non-mutants to die. Cars weren't the only selection pressure favoring short wings.

Quote:
Vehicle mortality is likely to be not the only factor contributing to the decline in wing length in this population over time; severe weather events that cause selection on body morphology and changes in insect prey may also be responsible


Even so, the cars did seem to be at least in part exerting selection pressure.

They end with this.
Quote:
Regardless of mechanism, the drop in traffic-related mortality over 30 years suggests that researchers should consider the possibility that road mortality in other species may change temporally and exert selection.


But remember that road mortality is not going to drop to zero. The evidence of dead animals on the road does not prove that evolution isn't selecting for those who can escape that fate. Only by systematically counting the bodies over a very long span of time (although decades isn't much in evolutionary time, even for quickly reproducing species) can you tell if mortality is going up, down, or staying the same. You can't tell just by looking out your car window and seeing a dead animal or by seeing an animal get hit or escape being hit.

For whatever it's worth, I've seen urban squirrels doing calculations that look more mindful of dangerous traffic than jaywalking humans do. The urban squirrrels don't obliviously wander across the street. They dart out, check for traffic and then make a quick calculation of whether they can run across the street fast enough to beat the cars or turn back to the curb. Sometimes after checking they run the rest of the way across the street. But sometimes after checking they run back to the curb. I am anthropomorphizing with the term "calculation" but given that they run out, look, freeze and then either run the rest of the way or turn back, it does look like a calculation of "can I make it?" The cars may be exerting selection pressure that favors those who can do more accurate calculations.



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18 Feb 2015, 3:45 am

Narrator wrote:
AspieOtaku, you may want to remove that before a moderator gets to it.
Too late the new WP system wont let me edit or remove the vid but since it is relevant to the topic I see no violations here, also half of the animals in the vid dont get hit and most dont die just get back up shocked slightly whoozy and go on their way!The part with the long line of ducks and the car hitting the bear and the mating cows cracked me up LOL! The big animals like the bear and the cattle have little to no serious injuries to a car crash due to their massive size and how tough they are the car on the other hand totalled LOL!


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