Re: Where are the zoologists?

Joel Hanes (
21 Dec 1994 00:35:17 GMT

>>In article <3cipq6$>, (Joel Hanes) writes:
>>>Both anthropologists and vert. paleontologists are
>>>aware of the general falsity of "strict adaptionism" --
>>>the idea that every feature of an organism is to be
>>>explained, somehow, as an adaption to some selective
>>>pressure. (Bryce Harrington) writes:
>I could believe this if the feature was sometimes present, sometimes
>not, for example blue eyes, inny-belly buttons, left-handedness, etc.
>But for features which are dominant and universal throughout the
>entire species, like the nose, hairlessness, adiapose fat, bipedalism,
>etc. there needs to be an explanation.

No. Some things just happen from historical contingency.

To the best of my knowledge, all humans have a vermiform appendix.
To the best of my knowledge, this trait is a historical accident,
not an adaptive response to selection pressure.

The organs in the human abdomen are supported by stringy tissues
depending from the backbone. This arrangement is decidedly
bad for an upright biped, but good for a quadruped.
Do you claim that this trait that we all share is adaptive?
I claim it's a historical accident.

Some snakes have vestigial leg bones.

Some whales have vestigial leg bones.

Gould's books are full of better examples.

Joel Hanes