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Evolution doesn't predict animal tails

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posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 11:36 PM
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I am looking at my dog right now and do not see why he would have any need for a tail, yet some primates have them even though they are more closely related in theory to humans than a dog.

What made evolution decide that some primates need a tail for obvious reasons in climbing (maybe) yet also give a dog a tail for no good reason at all?

Any creation haters care to enlighten me?




posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 12:22 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069
I am looking at my dog right now and do not see why he would have any need for a tail, yet some primates have them even though they are more closely related in theory to humans than a dog.

What made evolution decide that some primates need a tail for obvious reasons in climbing (maybe) yet also give a dog a tail for no good reason at all?

Any creation haters care to enlighten me?


Tails are used for a number of things, but with dogs they're very useful for gaining additional balance when running after prey as well as making rapid turns during those runs.

As for why evolution "decides" anything, I think your question clearly illustrates your general lack of understanding of how evolution operates.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 01:00 AM
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Our species is most closely related to the apes and none of them have tails. Of course the monkeys have tails that are prehensile, boy would that be handy to have behind you. I wish we had evolved from monkey branch of the tree, I want a tail.

Could you imagine what a cow would go through if it didn't have a fly swatter built in, or having all the birds just walking around on the ground because they lacked tails.

Evolution worked perfectly in the tail department, they all serve a purpose.
I bet your dog even communicates with you using his tail.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 01:11 AM
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Originally posted by Nohup
As for why evolution "decides" anything, I think your question clearly illustrates your general lack of understanding of how evolution operates.


I never claimed to know how evolution operates. I have a passing understanding of it, which is why I would like someone well versed in it to explain to me why common hereditary traits span between species and also differ within species.

Dogs are not the same species as primates, yet some primates have tails and as far as I know, most all dogs have them. Why would a four legged creature need it, and also it be suited for a mammal that can run on two or four. One can climb one cannot. One is better suited to run fast on the ground and one is not.

I am not trying to disprove what I do not know. I am sure that there are many here who will post something more than a passive response on the matter as to why the tail exists when it is not needed.

Do all animals need tails to keep balance?? No.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 01:21 AM
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Originally posted by anxietydisorder
Our species is most closely related to the apes and none of them have tails. Of course the monkeys have tails that are prehensile, boy would that be handy to have behind you. I wish we had evolved from monkey branch of the tree, I want a tail.


Yes, but apes and monkeys are both of the primate family. Where exactly did we spawn according to evolution and why did it choose to rid humans of the tail (and apes) but similar creatures it kept? I do not expect you to know this answer, but to just discuss it.



Could you imagine what a cow would go through if it didn't have a fly swatter built in, or having all the birds just walking around on the ground because they lacked tails.


Thats a nice sentiment, but I can hardly believe we lost tails or that its sole purpose is to swat flies like a cow. Evidently, the original breed of whatever needed tails, and some species lost the tail.......why, when it is still evident? Surely it is specific to evolutionary circumstances, because we still have both today.



Evolution worked perfectly in the tail department, they all serve a purpose.
I bet your dog even communicates with you using his tail.


I communicate sometimes with hand gestures when some jack runs me astray on the highway, but I do not even believe Darwin would conjecture that the invention of the automobile will let the human race keep our middle fingers just for the sake that we need them. It must be something greater than that.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 01:58 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069
I am looking at my dog right now and do not see why he would have any need for a tail, yet some primates have them even though they are more closely related in theory to humans than a dog.

What made evolution decide that some primates need a tail for obvious reasons in climbing (maybe) yet also give a dog a tail for no good reason at all?



You`re looking at your dog. OK. What`s his tail doing? Pointing up? Down? Wagging? Covering his nose while he sleeps with it inexplicably placed it on his anus? (that`s one proof that god had nothing to do with evolution - an all knowing, loving god would certainly not create an animal, bestow upon it one of the most highly defined senses of smell in the animal kingdom... then say: "oh, and by the way, to be comfortable, you`ll have to sleep with your nose up your own bum. sorry about that.")

Dogs - and the wolves that they share ancestry with - are social animals. That`s why he`s sleeping on the floor with his nose up his bottom and not gnawing your leg off because he`s a bit peckish.

Dogs have kept their tail because it`s a vital part of communication. Same goes for wolves. They use them to communicate emotions to each other.

We don`t need them to communicate because we talk. And have hands, which are also good at swatting flies. The arms they`re attached to take over in the balance department, along with the development and shape of the foot and toes. Don`T believe me? Go off and break your big toe and let me know how your balance is (after the pain dies down).

Anyway, this will let you better communicate with your dog, so that you`ll stop feeding him when he wants to be taken for a walk.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 02:16 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069
Yes, but apes and monkeys are both of the primate family. Where exactly did we spawn according to evolution and why did it choose to rid humans of the tail (and apes) but similar creatures it kept? I do not expect you to know this answer, but to just discuss it.


Further back in time, obviously. Before primates evolved from simpler ancestors. The genes that code for a tail has always been there. Been around since the time of the fish. Read up on basic cladistics to get a rough idea of it (the concept of passing down genes).



Evidently, the original breed of whatever needed tails, and some species lost the tail.......why, when it is still evident? Surely it is specific to evolutionary circumstances, because we still have both today.


Just like everything, the tail can be adapted for other purposes. Let use a non-tail example. Let's use teeth instead. The canine teeth of elephant ancestors eventually evolved into tusks, just like those of the warthog. Or how about forelimbs? In birds they evolved into wings. In cetaceans they evolved into flippers. In fact cetaceans still have vestigial hind limbs that can be seen from their skeletons. Plus, the cetacean tail evolved from a regular looking tail into something the animal uses to propel itself in the water.





Evolution worked perfectly in the tail department, they all serve a purpose.
I bet your dog even communicates with you using his tail.


I communicate sometimes with hand gestures when some jack runs me astray on the highway, but I do not even believe Darwin would conjecture that the invention of the automobile will let the human race keep our middle fingers just for the sake that we need them.


I can't really comment much on this because it's just too silly. Evolution doesn't happen overnight, least not in humans. Now if we were worms, whose lifespans are very short comparatively it would be a different story.

Here's the thing about genes -- just because a physical feature is not present, it does not mean the genes are not there. It simply means it has been suppressed by a newer gene.

Let's take birds as an example again. Current theories indicate that birds evolved from archosaurs. Whether it's the ancestor of crocodiles or that of theropod dinosaurs is a subject of current debate. At any rate, birds today don't have teeth. But that doesn't mean those genes are gone. It just has been suppressed by a newer, updated gene if you will. The prove for this is already well documented, you start by looking here:

Mutant Chicken Grows Alligatorlike Teeth: Scientific American

Here's a thought for you -- why can't evolution be compatible with a believe in god? What does the book say about how we came about? What did God say we were made off?

[edit on 24-11-2007 by Beachcoma]



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 02:57 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069

Yes, but apes and monkeys are both of the primate family. Where exactly did we spawn according to evolution and why did it choose to rid humans of the tail (and apes) but similar creatures it kept? I do not expect you to know this answer, but to just discuss it.


I grabbed the primate tree from WhoZoo:
whozoo.org...



You can see how our branch are the six on the list without tails. For some reason this small part of evolution diverged away from the rest and lived in an environment that didn't necessitate a tail for survival.
One other thing of interest in our little branch of the tree is that we are the 6 species that are the largest and most intelligent.
Perhaps it was a trade off that our size and intelligence compensated for the need to flee through trees to survive.

Bipedalism could also be a factor, the apes do get around on two legs pretty good, but humans are the only mammal that truly walks upright. Kangaroos only use two legs but they hop not walk. And that monster tail is the only thing that allows it to do that. It must have been an advantage to stand up tall to see its enemies.

I'll look up the habitats of the ones in our section and see if we evolved under similar circumstances.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 03:10 AM
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Originally posted by vox2442
Dogs have kept their tail because it`s a vital part of communication. Same goes for wolves. They use them to communicate emotions to each other.


Do you believe organic system's evolution depends on the need for communicating emotion or by necessity of external circumstance?



We don`t need them to communicate because we talk. And have hands, which are also good at swatting flies. The arms they`re attached to take over in the balance department, along with the development and shape of the foot and toes. Don`T believe me? Go off and break your big toe and let me know how your balance is (after the pain dies down).


I'll take your word for losing the use of toes. I would rather not debate you on that as I am not a podiatrist, nor does my ancestry have a love for feet. I am just not qualified.



Anyway, this will let you better communicate with your dog, so that you`ll stop feeding him when he wants to be taken for a walk.

en.wikipedia.org...


With all due respect, I dictate to my dog according to my schedule and not really when he wants to stop eating. He should know better by now, but he just doesn't listen, regardless of many years of teaching him.

This really doesn't tell me why he has a tail along side some climbing animals that are even slow moving on the ground and have no use for quick balance.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 04:36 AM
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Originally posted by ben91069
This really doesn't tell me why he has a tail along side some climbing animals that are even slow moving on the ground and have no use for quick balance.


I think you misunderstand how evolution works. When biological creatures reproduce, their DNA kinda recombines itself to provide a mixture of the traits of the parents. During this reconfiguration, mutations can develop more or less at random.

If the mutation is beneficial in some way that leads to better survival for the species in question, it will likely live longer and reproduce more. This leads to more animals having the same mutation, or that mutation being enhanced further, and you have a new branch to the species. It's also possible for mutations to propagate when they serve no useful purpose whatsoever, just because the parents were better at survival.

Some dogs had a mutation that left them without a tail. Others, like many other mammals, still have a tail. If there wasn't a mutation that lead to all of them losing their tails, then you'll have a mixture of dogs with and without tails. The same can be said for all other animals and the various branches of their trees, including humans and primates.

Humans developed a larynx with which we can produce the sounds to talk. However, most other primates (perhaps all of them) don't have anywhere near the vocal structures that we have. So, why do we have it? Well somewhere along the line, a primate existed with increased vocal capacity which likely led to better communication, better hunting skills, and increased survival. So that lucky primate got to reproduce a lot, passing on the mutation, on and on and on, until we get where we are today.

Hopefully that makes a bit more sense.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 04:47 AM
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reply to post by ben91069
 




I never claimed to know how evolution operates.


"Evolution doesn't predict animal tails"

The OP Title pretty much say you do ...



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 05:26 AM
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Originally posted by shoran
During this reconfiguration, mutations can develop more or less at random.


Not necessarily. A new research has found that it's not as random as it seems.

Evolution is deterministic, not random, biologists conclude from multi-species study

Fascinating read. Makes you wonder...



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 03:25 PM
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Originally posted by Beachcoma
Not necessarily. A new research has found that it's not as random as it seems.


That's rather interesting.
I would imagine that some changes are made for specific, technical reasons. Others are possibly random as the result of some environmental factor (radiation, chemicals, viruses, etc.). But, what I gather from that article is that the DNA seems to get better organized as a creature evolves so that development proceeds more efficiently.



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by anxietydisorder
I wish we had evolved from monkey branch of the tree, I want a tail.


Human embryos do have a tail whilst in vitro. As the fetus develops it gets absorbed into the region of the coccyx. Very rarely a baby will be born with a tail. Sometimes this tail will contain vertebrae and be capable of movement more often than not it just contains nerves and blood vessels. The longest one on record was about nine inches long if memory serves. Tail like structures are occasionally seen on people suffering from spinabifida



[edit on 24-11-2007 by sabre151]



posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 05:29 PM
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We know evolution is not random, we've known that for a while. Selection plays a big part. It's just getting that over to other people, heh.

The actual article concludes...


that developmental evolution is primarily governed by selection and/or selection-independent constraints, not stochastic processes such as drift in unconstrained phenotypic space.



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