Re: Horns, Antlers, Tusks, and the way evolution works

Len Piotrowski (
Mon, 9 Sep 1996 15:49:09 GMT

In article <50puue$> (Bryant) writes:

>>If there is no known physical trace for an "adaptive trait" indentifiable in
>>the record, and no known fitness value for this same "trait" now, is it still
>>a functional adaptation?

>If there's no opportunity for comparative analysis (say, from the fossil
>record) and no obvious correlates to current fitness effects, I would
>probably not identify it as an adaptation.

If there is no record of fossil behavior, how can any manifestation of
observed, complex behavior (setting aside such examples as innate reflex, or
physiological maintenance, or actions of sensory organs in conjunction with
processes of the neural network, etc.) be classified as an "adaptive trait?"
If there is no archaeological/paleontological correlates to these complex
behaviors, are they still "traits?" If so, what distinguishes these latter
traits from "adaptive trait?" How do you characterize the process, fossil or
otherwise, of acquiring behavioral characteristics as related to the
emergence and retention of an "adaptive trait" versus a non-adaptive trait?