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Reversing Undesirable Fish Evolution

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the make-them-bun-shaped dept.

Science 216

TaeKwonDood writes "Your granddad's approach to fishing — throw the little 'uns back — may have hurt their evolution, but we can reverse that, says a group of researchers, with a change of policy. Fish have been 'reprogramming' themselves to be smaller and live longer. Welcome to evolutionary dynamics, Lamarck. But, no, they are serious. And it can be fixed within 12 generations. What do the smart people out there think about this? Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?"

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Evolution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074259)

What do the smart people out there think about this? Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?

Of course not! Hollywood would be proud!

Oh, and they can get it down to 6 generations if they reroute the power from the main EPS conduits through the deflector dish in order to create a reversed polarity tachyon field. The tachyons will interact with the quantum state of the fish at a subatomic level, forcing them to grow larger. Sort of like inflating a balloon. With tachyons.

Re:Evolution (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074273)

You're forgetting that that would cause a disruption of the protein harmonic stabilizing field causing a reversal of the space-time continuum!

Re:Evolution (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074327)

Details, details. So the universe gets turned inside out and dinosaurs stomp the earth again. You want bigger fish or not?

Re:Evolution (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074523)

They can do it in one generation, just crossbreed them with pigs. Taste of fish will greatly improve too!

Re:Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075799)

Mmmmm....fork, or pish!

Re:Evolution (2, Funny)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076523)

i can't decide if that sounds tasty or disgusting. /paging Dr. Mephisto

Clear example of directional selection... (5, Informative)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074293)

Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?

Nope. It seems correct to this biology teacher. This is a clear case of directional selection [wikipedia.org] . Keep eliminating the larger fish and the median size of fish in the population will be smaller. So, by taking the large ones, we are selecting against them and for smaller fish and juveniles. If, over time the frequencies of the alleles for large and small change in the population, then we have, by definition, evolution.

What makes you think this wouldn't be an example of evolution?

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074429)

Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?

What makes you think this wouldn't be an example of evolution?

Mostly the desire to be a self-righteous pedant and ask Slashdot armchair biologists to weigh in and overrule a group of university researchers.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074735)

of course there are actual biologists who read slashdot that don't think highly of evolution being thought of in terms of a ladder but rather fitness and genetic change over time in order to maximize the chances that organisms can and do reproduce. the summery did a poor job of phrasing what the researchers actually said on the matter calling it "bad for their evolution" in contrast to being "undesirable [from humanity's perspective] evolution" for which the latter is far more accurate and the former.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075009)

and the former what?

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075805)

than

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075793)

I'm just waiting for some self-righteous slashdotter to draw an analogy between the runts of the litter, promotion to management, 12 generations, and their least favorite CEO. If you can breed lapdogs in 12 generations, with nothing but artificial selection, imagine what you can do with specimens who are actively trying to "evolve" themselves.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074707)

how about this bit from the summery?

throw the little 'uns back â" may have hurt their evolution, but we can reverse that

*cringe* evolution is not a step ladder! If the fish are adapting genetically with the result being more offspring than they would otherwise then it is evolution regardless of humanity's shallow view of what it means to "evolve in a positive direction" or that just because those fish didn't evolve the way we would have liked that it somehow means that it "hurt their evolution."

Helped their evolution (5, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074737)

just because those fish didn't evolve the way we would have liked that it somehow means that it "hurt their evolution."

I'd in fact go further and say it has helped their evolution. If they become small enough that us humans cannot be bothered with them then they have managed to eliminate the most dangerous predator on the planet as a concern. Seems like a smart move to me.

Re:Helped their evolution (5, Insightful)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074781)

I'd in fact go further and say it has helped their evolution.

More precisely, you can't 'hurt' or 'help' evolution - you can't even really evolve in a 'bad' direction since evolution by definition increases the survivability of the species. An individual mutation could be good or bad, but evolution is the process of selecting the good mutations.

As you say, in this case 'good' means 'humans don't eat me'.

Now, TFA may mention this (but how would I know?), but the clever thing for fishermen to do is to catch the biggest, tastiest fish and then breed them. This leverages evolution by making 'tasty to humans' a survival trait. If you doubt this works, consider sheep, pigs, cows, wheat and rice.

Re:Helped their evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075139)

Too bad farmed fish doesn't taste as good as wild fish.

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075417)

Actually nowadays, it's catch the biggest and tastiest and clone them... ALOT!!!

Re:Helped their evolution (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076787)

Actually nowadays, it's catch the biggest and tastiest and clone them... ALOT!!!

Indeed. See Potatoes and Bananas.

Re:Helped their evolution (2, Informative)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075601)

I don't know - once one of the selection pressures is an intelligent force that can predict the eventual path of evolution, I'd say words like, 'hurt' can start to apply.

What if the fish evolving to be smaller to avoid human mouths eventually leaves them set to be eliminated by some other force? In other words, what if we're forcing a short term evolutionary advantage that is long term fatal to the species?

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075881)

Unlikely given the human propensity for killing off all larger predators.

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

eam (192101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076115)

You're looking at it wrong.

They're getting smaller *because* it is an advantage. Evolution isn't a bunch of fish getting together and deciding to get smaller or larger or whatever. The smaller fish are surviving longer (despite whatever other predators are out there) because we don't eat the small ones. The longer you stay small, the longer we keep throwing you back. The individual fish doesn't have a choice. The individual does not matter.

If they reach the point where we don't eat them, and something else starts to, then they'll evolve away from that. Maybe the next step is to grow legs and climb out of the water.

The only real question here is, how do we avoid letting all our food evolve away from us? Sharks can't do it, but we might be able to. We need to encourage the fish to grow big. It might be nice if we could get them to evolve a tendency to jump into our boats. Hell, just have them swim to shore & jump onto the beach.

Crap! Salmon! They do it already! How did we manage that?

Re:Helped their evolution (2, Informative)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076267)

Natural selection works to increase the fitness of the average individual in a population sure, but Evolution also includes cases where the average fitness level can go down. Consider, for instance, the founder effect [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

ghee22 (781277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076421)

What if the fish evolving to be smaller to avoid human mouths eventually leaves them set to be eliminated by some other force?

Don't worry, humans will adapt [youtube.com] to find and eat the smaller fish.

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

asliarun (636603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075683)

Exactly! This is like saying that throwing apples on the ground is hurting gravity. I also don't understand why we feel the need to associate words like good or bad with evolution. The only thing that is good or bad is when the effect of evolution affects us in some way. Is entropy acting mean today?

Re:Helped their evolution (2, Insightful)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076711)

Exactly! This is like saying that throwing apples on the ground is hurting gravity. I also don't understand why we feel the need to associate words like good or bad with evolution. The only thing that is good or bad is when the effect of evolution affects us in some way. Is entropy acting mean today?

It's interesting to see how inconsistent people here do tend to be.

I would hazard a guess that there is a much higher percentage of atheists and agnostics among slashdotters than what is in the general population, so I just don't get the whole ascribing good/evil tags to human impact upon evolution. As I understand it, there is no right or wrong in evolution, only cause and effect.

If one ascribes no special status to humans (e.g. "made in the image of God"), then how can we be anything more than causes and effects within the process? Do we ascribe malicious intent to beavers, because they flood a valley and force a bunch of meadow voles and rabbits out of their homes?

Re:Helped their evolution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27077009)

I would hazard a guess that there is a much higher percentage of atheists and agnostics among slashdotters than what is in the general population, so I just don't get the whole ascribing good/evil tags to human impact upon evolution. As I understand it, there is no right or wrong in evolution, only cause and effect.

I'm not sure that it was necessary to bring up the atheist/agnostic part. As an atheist, I am still prone to describe something as good or bad. I think that particular action is more a function of someone being a human than them being of a particular religious belief.

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27077079)

It is harder to catch smaller fish (and they require more processing per pound of catch). The decrease in size is detrimental to humans.

So objectively, there isn't anything good or bad about the fish changing, but we are involved and prefer bigger fish.

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

alasdair (213627) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075731)

evolution by definition increases the survivability of the species.

That's not correct. Biology is full of species that have evolved to fill particular niches, like the panda or flightless birds on islands. When the niche disappears the species becomes extinct. So evolution is perfectly capable of reducing survivability, depending on the timescale you're measuring and the area you're studying. Generalists survive, then specialise into the new, vacant niches in their local environment.

Re:Helped their evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075877)

How do you find out that they are tasty and breed them? It seems one action would preclude the other.

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076737)

Luckily we have plenty of seafood restaurants around for us to find out which species are tastiest...

Re:Helped their evolution (1)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076005)

Good point but the reason they ended up in this situation is that no one has invented a net that catches small ones and lets the big ones go. We eat all sizes of marine creatures from shrimp and white bait to whales and if they get smaller we will jst use smaller and smaller nets.

There seems to be no limit on our urge to exploit to extinction all life on the planet that we cannot farm. So nice try fish but we're gonna get ya

Re:Helped their evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076187)

Until we decide there are no fishable fish in this bay any more, no reason to worry about what we dump in there.

Re:Helped their evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076501)

Unlikely that the man with a fishing rod is the largest predator. Whales can eat LOTS of fish at one time. And pollution can destroy LOTS of feeding grounds for fish. Those fish factory ships have more of an impact wiping out fish, but they don't throw back the little ones. And fish that evolve to be smaller will become prey to different predators, to which they won't have as much natural defense.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (4, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074721)

I do wonder if the poster actually read the article. It uses the word "reprogrammed" once, as a metaphor, and it's not the fish "reprogramming themselves," it's the selective harvesting.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it to come here if the blurbs misrepresent the articles so badly.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074749)

I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it to come here if the blurbs misrepresent the articles so badly.

well yeah, the summeries on slashdot can be pretty bad but there's two redeeming features about all of this: the article [when it is relevant] and the discussion about said article and potentially about said summery. And the mod points...

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074797)

'Idle' and kdawson kinda make your points fail, though, unfortunately. The negatives are really starting to outweigh the positives.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075135)

summery

No, it's not even spring yet.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (2, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074789)

"I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth it to come here if the blurbs misrepresent the articles so badly."

I see you are new here, the zen of slashdot is never read TFS/TFA, if you must you can glance at the headline before going straight to the comments. Personally I don't know of any other site where geeks regularly gather in such numbers and diversity to hurl abuse at each other.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074911)

I've always thought of evolution as the furtherance of a species through gradual genetic mutations over time. What is described here I've always thought of more as 'natural selection', whereby a specific trait produces an advantage in nature that leads to a higher rate of survival for those that possess the trait.

The difference being that natural selection is one aspect of how evolution occurs, but it's not required; a specific mutation may not directly provide a benefit in the environment; it may take several different mutations to interact before there's a tangible benefit to organisms possessing it, but each one is a part of the organism's evolution as a whole.

That said, maybe I've been thinking of them wrong, but that's how they make the most sense to me.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074927)

What makes you think this wouldn't be an example of evolution?

Maybe the use of the word 'reprogramming' -- that could be taken to to mean they were claiming it was something individual fish were doing, to change within their own lifetimes. Hence, Lamarck. But I could just as well read it as a (maybe slightly weird) way of describing the change in the species' genetic distribution as it responds to selective pressure in what (as you said) sounds like a perfectly classic case of evolution. 'Course, that's just based on the summary; to say for sure, I'd have to RTFA.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (4, Insightful)

beckerist (985855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075071)

Eeeeexactly. Reverse evolution is like "reverse discrimination" *cough*BULLSHIT*cough*

Evolution is evolution... Just because we might be the primary environmental factor OR we might BECOME the primary factor doesn't make it "reverse."

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075163)

"It seems correct to this biology teacher."

I think this biology teacher will have to revise his concepts.

"This is a clear case of directional selection."

Yes.

"If, over time the frequencies of the alleles for large and small change in the population, then we have, by definition, evolution."

No, we haven't. We just have frequency variation. But we haven't change the gene pool a dime. Without new characteristics we have no evolution, by definition.

In fact, the very article states that we could reverse those population changes within some generations. Evolution is not reversible.

"What makes you think this wouldn't be an example of evolution?"

Environmental pressure changes population frequencies and *can* drive evolution towards some direction (mutations that embetters fitness within such pressure will be favoured) but it's no evolution by itself. Environmental pressure by itself cannot make a bird out of a dinossaur.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (4, Informative)

VDragon99 (1223114) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075359)

"If, over time the frequencies of the alleles for large and small change in the population, then we have, by definition, evolution."

No, we haven't. We just have frequency variation. But we haven't change the gene pool a dime. Without new characteristics we have no evolution, by definition.

I have to agree with GP, we indeed have evolution, by definition. Evolution is not defined by "new characteristics", whatever that is. Could you please provide a reference that defines evolution as "new characteristics"?

Evolution is (as I have learned during my biology studies) defined as a change in allele frequency. If the genetic make-up of the population changes from one generation to another (and frequency variation constitutes such a change), then we have evolution.

Furthermore, you assume that only frequencies change. That need not be the case. A phenotypical change in size (as in this case) might also very well be caused by mutation, what might be a "new characteristic". Superficially you have no way if distinguishing the two processes.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075577)

Without new characteristics we have no evolution, by definition.

Rubbish. Ever heard of the peppered moth?

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075469)

It's called 'adaptation'.

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076841)

Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?

Nope. It seems correct to this biology teacher. This is a clear case of directional selection [wikipedia.org] . Keep eliminating the larger fish and the median size of fish in the population will be smaller. So, by taking the large ones, we are selecting against them and for smaller fish and juveniles. If, over time the frequencies of the alleles for large and small change in the population, then we have, by definition, evolution.

What makes you think this wouldn't be an example of evolution?

My take on it is that this is more of a case of Intelligent Design (or Unintelligent Design...whatever, but design either way). And as we all know, ID != Evolution. In fact, many see them as complete opposites. I guess no one has ever considered that maybe evolution is a product of design. In other words, maybe species were "designed" to "evolve".

(Did I just cross the streams?)

Re:Clear example of directional selection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27077319)

You are a biology teacher? I weep for humanity...

This is ADAPTATION, not evolution. Evolution implies a change infunction...didn't have legs, now I do after "evolution" takes place. This is just having a particular trait THAT ALREADY EXISTS become more prevalent.

When my blonde wife and my blonde self have a blonde kid, it isn't evolution, moron. When small fish survive and breed small fish, it ain't evolution, it's just adaptation. There is a SIGNIFICANT difference.

Again...I weep for humanity...

Sounds like evolution (4, Informative)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074295)

Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?"

If being smaller enables the fish to survive long enough to breed, then no. Big fish die off, small fish breed.

Re:Sounds like evolution (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074349)

That's a simplistic view of it. Killing the larger fish remove them from future breeding, and smaller fish have more opportunity to do so.

It doesn't have to be absolute.

Re:Sounds like evolution (3, Funny)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074545)

Big fish die off, small fish breed.

Oh yeah? Then how come "the one that got away" always gets bigger?

And the more beer a fisherman pours down his gills, the bigger it gets! Just get a couple of twelve-packs and you'll have lakes full of uncaught big fish in a couple of hours.

Re:Sounds like evolution (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074665)

Big fish die off, small fish breed.

Oh yeah? Then how come "the one that got away" always gets bigger?

And the more beer a fisherman pours down his gills, the bigger it gets! Just get a couple of twelve-packs and you'll have lakes full of uncaught big fish in a couple of hours.

It's a well-known fact that fish feed on empty beer cans. The more they eat, the bigger they get.

Re:Sounds like evolution (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075007)

Big fish die off, small fish breed.

Oh yeah? Then how come "the one that got away" always gets bigger?

Not they don't - so slower they grow so longer they can breed. This is opposite to evolution without men where growing fast meant outgrowing the enemy.

Re:Sounds like evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076811)

Not they don't - so slower they grow so longer they can breed.

OT stab in the dark here: English isn't your first language...

Re:Sounds like evolution (2, Insightful)

kxr1 (1492453) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074561)

This is an absolutely spot on comment. If there is a selection pressure for smaller fish, then the process of selection is working. "Natural selection" is somewhat of a misnomer, as sometimes something out of the ordinary (occurs with predictable regularity, or slowly over the course of millennia) happens and pressures the group in a certain direction. In this case, humans are applying a selective pressure to the fish population. Therefore fish that are predisposed, due to their genetics, to a smaller adult size are reaching sexual maturity and producing offspring. That's perfectly natural if you consider the population of fish that are in an environment where human selection is a pressure. Would an identical species living in a similar niche without catch and release pressure decrease in size? That's a far more interesting question than "is this evolution?" or "is this Darwinism or Lamrakian?". Not that I read the original article or the parent I'm quoting. I could care less, as a /. reader.

Re:Sounds like evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074671)

We are the only ones to blame.

The ocean can not support us any longer, so it takes the only logical course, which is, "if we're smaller, humans won't kill all of us because we'll be useless".

Take plankton as an example, you can't even pick your teeth with it and there's plenty of it.

Re:Sounds like evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074725)

You'll be glad to hear that I'm almost finished with my plankton sieve troller technology that will enable us to not only collect plankton in bulk, but then eat it too.

TRY AND STOP US

*takes bite out of earth*

Darwin, not Lamarck (5, Informative)

sheath (4100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074319)

What does Lamarck have to do with it? These fish haven't been passing down traits they've developed during their lifetimes - we've been killing all the big fish, so smaller fish are selectively left to breed. That's Darwinian evolution.

In normal situations, I'd imagine that bigger fish tend to reproduce more often. But when some external force (e.g., thousands of fishers in boats with GPS and big nets) changes things, you get a different outcome.

If we preferred to eat fish that were darker in colour, they'd be getting lighter instead.

Either TaeKwonDood misunderstands evolution, or rushed to post his article a little too quickly...

Re:Darwin, not Lamarck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074719)

So to solve this, I guess we should just catch and eat all fish, even da little babbiez. This will select allow the other group, which is the set of no fish, to thrive.

Re:Darwin, not Lamarck (1)

sheath (4100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27077373)

I like this idea! What traits do 'no fish' have? Are they made of antimatter? Could we use them as weapons?

The possibilities abound.

Re:Darwin, not Lamarck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074843)

He was saying that this was a clear example to Lamarck that he was wrong (were he still alive to see it.) I think you should re-read the post and turn off the automatic reaction generator.

Re:Darwin, not Lamarck (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075643)

He was saying that this was a clear example to Lamarck that he was wrong

Did it need saying? Coming up after the break - an astounding claim that the earth isn't flat. But first - phlogiston - fact or fiction?

Are they using the term evolution the wrong way? (5, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074323)

No, but you're being rather careless with your language.

It hasn't "hurt" their evolution. Their evolution has been helpful, based on the selection pressures they face.

Nor are the fish "reprogramming themselves". The species' genetic make up may be shifting (in a loose sense "reprogrammed") but they aren't doing it to themselves.

Undesirable? Tell me about it (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074393)

One species is trying to grow legs and arms so it can crawl to land and build nuclear weapons to end the world. We must stop this before it's too late!. -Anonymous Anomalocaris

Lamarck? (1)

2b|!2b (140353) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074397)

Why are you name-dropping 17th century biologists? There's nothing even remotely transmutational about that article.

They had better mean (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074467)

12 fish generations...

Its called Breeding (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074479)

Animal Husbandry has been doing it for years in one form or another.

See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Of course, if you leave the runts of the litter only, you end up with smaller critters. Its how many lap dogs were bred in the first place.

And like any breeder can tell you, of course it can be fixed in 12 animal generations!

God did it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074485)

Clearly this is yet MORE poof of intelligent design! How can you not see it!

Re:God did it (-1, Flamebait)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075307)

This is clearly a case of macro evolution that the ID people keep harping on about however like you predict with your sarcastic comment they'll spin it around.

You can only educate the uneducated, stupid people are untrainable.

Re:God did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076867)

No, it's micro evolution. It's still the same species.

Re:God did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076349)

Actually, it's a good case of human-directed evolution. Whether human-directed evolution is good or not is debatable. What's so hard to accept about evolution directed by other intelligences? There is NOTHING in the concept of intelligent design that negates natural processes, rather it suggests that natural processes are directed by some overriding intelligence. I think the problem is that you'd rather not admit to some overriding intelligence, preferring to hold to the view that only things humans can understand or observe directly exist.

Let me tell you (3, Funny)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074493)

Whenever I go out to the bars, I make it a point to take the smallest woman I can find home with me. It is my hope that within generations, the women remaining in the bars will all be larger and provide... um... ::analogy fail::

Instead of throwing back the little ones, (1)

goto begin (1338561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074527)

they should be throwing back the young ones. Older fish are getting smaller? Chop 'em in half and count the rings.

Re:Instead of throwing back the little ones, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074663)

I'm not sure if this is going *woosh* over my head.

Fish actually do have ring on an ear-related bone, and you can read how old it is from this. I welcome anybody to revise this, because I'm just loosely repeating what I heard on the radio this afternoon about fish in the Kaipara Habour.

Evolution 2.0 (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074531)

Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?

Of course not! It's Evolution 2.0!

And how is it different from any other kind of selective breeding?

Re:Evolution 2.0 (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074757)

Of course not! It's Evolution 2.0!

If that is like Web 2.0 then perhaps we should refer to it as unintelligent design.

See the same things with elephant tuskers ... (5, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074693)

For years, the elephants in southern India have been hunted for their tusks. Fifteen years ago, you could very well run into a lone tusker in the wild with metre long tusks.

But now of late, there are baby elephants being born who grow up to be fertile males without the large tusks. With tiny foot long points out of their mouths, instead of something resembling the original giants [wikipedia.org] that I used to love.

It's almost as if the poachers are even more of a significant selection force than nature and female preference put together.

Re:See the same things with elephant tuskers ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27074877)

Think about it this way. If ALL jocks were killed tomorrow, human race would continue and slashdotters would breed first time in their lives. Yes, despite all odds of natural forces and femele preference put together, geeks would breed mad!

You see, if ONLY small tusks remained, then female had no more "preference". You get what you get.

Re:See the same things with elephant tuskers ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075323)

Think about it this way. If ALL jocks were killed tomorrow, human race would continue and slashdotters would breed first time in their lives. Yes, despite all odds of natural forces and femele preference put together, geeks would breed mad!

Ummm... no.

"Not if you were the last man on Earth."

Sound familiar?

Re:See the same things with elephant tuskers ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075769)

It's a lie. Likely even if she is a lesbian. Presented with a severe decrease in population, our biological imperative instincts are likely to re-assert themselves with a vengeance. ... ponder... it's stuff I say like this that makes sure I don't get laid, right? Right. FML.

Re:See the same things with elephant tuskers ... (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075831)

It's almost as if the poachers are even more of a significant selection force than nature and female preference put together.

Of course they are! If a female doesn't select a male in one breeding season, he can try again the next ... if he dies, then he clearly can't. And I imagine that poachers are a more significant threat than tigers or other natural predators...

Re:See the same things with elephant tuskers ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076275)

Tigers in Africa ?!?!?!

Oh, it's southern India. What a waste of a perfectly good Python quote!

Who ever asked that silly question... (3, Informative)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 5 years ago | (#27074755)

... should read Beak of the Finch [barnesandnoble.com]

Human to Crocodile to Human (3, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075267)

Technically they are correct, in practice I have my doubts. It is hard to get all the variables in a breeding programme to act in line. Ask any dog breeder.

I once was asked by someone from J. Witnesses if I could transform a human into a crocodile. Sure I said, just give me some 300 million years and I might succeed. And, give give me another 300 million years and I may even get it back to a human.

Me, the magician!

flawed methodology (3, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075353)



TFA describes a closed study of a population of fish. It's not an examination of wild populations of fish or an analysis of trends in wild populations. Extrapolating their observations from the closed population and applying them to the wild populations isn't accurate.

Commercial fishing is performed with nets (or longlines) and does not discriminate based on size. Everything in the net goes into the hold. Any non-target fish are discarded after they are dead. Sport fishing does discriminate based on size, but doesn't have a significant impact on saltwater fish. Also, larger fish are usually the smarter fish that have avoided anglers' lures, etc. which is a phenomena that isn't accounted for in this study.

Seth

Re:flawed methodology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27077219)

That may be true, but similar studies have been done in other environments. For example, the Carribean Spiny Lobster was examined off the cost of Florida. When the sizes were placed for the legal size there it was based upon a scientific study of maturity. The short answer was 3 inches measured from between the eyes to the edge of the carapace. That was done in the 1950's. Everything was going fine until the 1990's when they began finding more lobster carrying eggs at smaller sizes. This has bit attributed to "harvest pressure" from commercial and recreational fishermen. On the other hand, issuing additional commercial licenses has not seemed to decrease the population significantly. Furthermore, the total harvest remains the same (though each fishermen gets less catch).

So what does all this mean? There is seasonal debate about appropriate size and count limits for fishing Carribean Spiny Lobster.

Re:flawed methodology (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27077247)

Smarter fish!?

Evolution? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075513)

I have studied Evolution quite extensively, and have concluded that there is much more evidence against the theory than for it. For whatever reason, only pro-evolutionary evidences ever see the light of day.

Articles like this one seem to take Evolution for granted, and their very title assumes that the Evolutionary process, as well understood, is established fact.

For anyone who hasn't heard the evidence for the other side, check out http://www.bcmin.us/main/?q=node/31 - Parts 2, 3, and especially 4, are knock-your-socks off informative of how we all have seemingly been misled.

While no one can prove either side, there are so many examples of things that are not possible with Evolution, I would highly suggest that we look for other explanations for things.

Please don't accuse me of being a Troll. I am dead serious about this stuff. The evidence is massive.

Re:Evolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075677)

God I wish I had mod points!

Mod parent Troll!

I fear for humanity what this means (2, Funny)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27075521)

I was hoping the first 10 minutes of Idiocracy wasn't true. Unfortunately, after returning from Tomorrowland at Disney and reading this article, I fear the Cleavons will take over the earth.

you are kdding right? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27075833)

wtf is this all about? the sky is falling from global warming and now you want to re-engineer fish? Does it occur to anyone that man has been fishing for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years? these pseudo scientists need to stop experimenting on themselves with mind altering substances. shame on the rest of you for indulging them...

The Amerindians knew (2, Informative)

eric.brasseur (1149823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076035)

I read, about twenty-five years ago, that traditional people in the Andes, when planting potatoes, only planted the biggest and most beautiful ones they had from previous harvest. The religious justification is that the "Pacha Mama", which is "Mother Earth", only deserves the best.

Lamarck revisited (1)

josd (80831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076157)

Lately there have been examples of Lamarck-like 'evolution'. It's clear now the base-pair order is not the whole picture. To some extend acquired features (in particular, methylation of DNA) can be passed on to offspring.

see http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026845.000-memories-may-be-stored-on-your-dna.html [newscientist.com]

This is why I oppose hunting (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076243)

I don't oppose hunting on moral or ethical grounds. And I eat meat like nobody's business. My problem with hunting is that humans have obtained such an imbalance of power such that, unlike in the wild, where predators prey on the weak, humans only hunt the strong. We shoot the biggest buck, the biggest bear, the biggest whatever. We are removing the best genes from the gene pool. It's "survival of the weakest", and the long term consequences cannot be good.

This is nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076291)

Fisheries biologists have known this for some time. You'll often find that game fish have harvest windows where only fish within a certain size range can be kept. Smaller, and more importantly, larger, fish need to be returned. So, the ones with genes for growing large are preserved, and the young that are needed to sustain the population are also preserved.

It's also been known (for example, articles in In-Fisherman magazine from some years ago) that members of the sunfish family seem to divide into two population groups - one in which the members never go beyond eating insects, crustaceans, and the like, and a population that has moved on to prey on smaller fish. The former population stays small, the latter gets big. Guess what keeping the big ones does?

Logging too (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076341)

The same selection of the smallest happens in the logging industry when people cut down the bigger trees and think the little ones will grow up to fill in. That's called "high cutting" and it will ruin a forest for generations. As much bad publicity as clear cutting gets it's usually the best way to manage timber cutting.

Not evolution (2, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076537)

This is no more evolution than the development of different breeds of dogs, which are all the same species, was evolution. Take a population and select a specific trait. Breed the population to amplify that trait.

Take a population of dogs. Bread the population to be big, and you end up with a population that is bigger and bigger. Eventually, you end up with great danes, mastifs, etc.

Continue this kind of divergent breeding long enough, with a large enough group of traits and one might be able to force evolutionary change and the creation of different species.

This is an example of change due to environmental pressure. But, the pressure has not been applied long enough to make the change permanent or complete.

The article shows a simplistic understanding of the Theory of Evolution and a simplistic and misinformed interpretation of the data.

Re:Not evolution (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27077211)

The idea of species is sort of getting tested lately.

For instance, I imagine it would be quite simple to find a pair of dogs (or even a pair of dog breeds) that were entirely genetically compatible, but were, for mechanical reasons, unable to interbreed. Another example, it isn't clear that species, as a concept, can coherently by applied to bacteria.

Also, it depends on how you define evolution; you are using speciation, other people are willing to consider any change in a population that increases its fitness in response to a change in the environment.

Heikegani (Samurai Crab) (2, Interesting)

laststraw (217746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27076789)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai_crab

Dr. Dmitry K. Belyaev (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27076857)

Did a similar thing (by accident) by 'evolving' a fox breed to a new species of dogs over 10 fox generations (10 years).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Belyaev

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