Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cockroaches Evolving To Avoid Roach Motels

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the sleeping-on-the-couch-instead dept.

Science 315

sciencehabit writes "Only a few years after roach motels were introduced in the 1980s, they lost their allure for an increasing number of German cockroaches. Researchers soon realized that some roaches had developed an aversion to glucose—the sugary bait disguising the poison—and that the insects were passing that trait on to their young. Now, scientists have figured out how this behavior evolved."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That's fine (5, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43808969)

Maybe soon they will learn an aversion to everything in my house. Then they can live outside and we will all be happy.

Re:That's fine (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809305)

Then they can live outside and we will all be happy.

I understand many of them have found alternative employment with Microsoft and Apple's IP standover^h^h protection legal teams.

Re:That's fine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809491)

Maybe soon they will learn an aversion to everything in my house. Then they can live outside and we will all be happy.

This is the same way niggers evolved to love poverty and crime.

Re:That's fine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809643)

That's because of the clanspeople and their Christian missionary allies. Cultural evolution is accelerated every time you take some one's identity and crush it like a cockroach is crushed.

Ah, yes! (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43808975)

That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

Re:Ah, yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809005)

Not if He is going to design shit like this into the Cockroach genome. It's kind of like the polymorphic code I design into my malware to thwart antivirus software.

Re:Ah, yes! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809013)

That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

IDers accept microevolution.

Re:Ah, yes! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809071)

IDers accept microevolution.

Which just makes them more illogical, not less. For example, I accept that I live in my mother's basement, but I don't accept that I will never get a date. Yet the latter is a consequence of the former.

Re:Ah, yes! (5, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809133)

That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

IDers accept microevolution.

Do they? Back before they got pwned all their marquee arguments[*] took the form of "this-or-that-structure-or-system could not have evolved".

If you want to defend them, maybe you should clarify what definition of microevolution they accept, and what other flavors of evolution they reject.

[*] Except for Dembski's "no free lunch" argument that evolution doesn't work any better than blind chance, which of course would apply to microevolution as well as to any other flavor.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809609)

This appears to speak to your question, especially the last two paragraphs before the notes section.

The Peppered Moth Story: Vindicated! [creationbc.org]

A quick search appears to show they haven't folded their cards as yet.

About Irreducible Complexity [discovery.org]
Michael Behe Hasn't Been Refuted on the Flagellum [evolutionnews.org]
mouse trap illustration vs. 3-glasses-3-knives illustration — Irreducible Complexity, Depth of Integration [uncommondescent.com]

I would think that evolutionary theory would predict, and even practically demand, the presence of ID theorists and Creationists of various flavors as part of the scientific community. Every scientific community, and they are segmented, is its own little ecosystem. It has sources of energy (grants), and consumers (scientists) and various forms of reproduction (ideas and new scientists, etc.). Some members of the ecosystem will consume resources, but give little back, or produce poor quality offspring. The herd only improves if the strongest survive. Think of the role of predators taking the weak in any animal stock. In this case it is weak theories and science. By the two communities engaging in adversarial struggle, the weak science is exposed and made stronger. What is passed over in silence by on community is exposed by the other and account demanded. Intellectual rigor increases. Their ways are strange to you, perhaps even irritating. But directly and indirectly they help real science grow stronger, and more innovative. They probably also bring additional funding into the scientific community that it otherwise wouldn't have. And without them, your droll post would have no meaning.

The evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium came about for a reason - to explain missing data - transitional forms, data that couldn't be found but evolutionary theory said should be there. It is certainly a bold approach to the problem - we can't find it because it doesn't exist so, never mind. In a way it brings to mind the Fermi Paradox [wikipedia.org] .

Of course the ID community has a view: Punctuated Equilibrium and Patterns from the Fossil Record [ideacenter.org]

Note to moderators: I am neither kidding nor trolling. Feel free to ignore the post.

Re:Ah, yes! (0)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809711)

Why are we even talking about ID and creationism in this discussion? How has spirituality got dragged into this scientific topic? We could discuss how there's the possibility of some kind of learning, and behaviour transferal, but no.... we've got to bring up ID.

Fed up with ID BS.... bored of it. It was funny for a while.

Re:Ah, yes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809165)

IDes can accept evolution...the only thing they don't accept is that life on the planet was not in some way fashioned for some particular purpose (which was presumably either already fulfilled long ago, or hasn't been completed yet, or else has been completely forgotten about)

Re:Ah, yes! (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809277)

Like: What is the question to the answer 42?

Re:Ah, yes! (5, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809447)

IDes can accept evolution...the only thing they don't accept is that life on the planet was not in some way fashioned for some particular purpose (which was presumably either already fulfilled long ago, or hasn't been completed yet, or else has been completely forgotten about)

And now we have yet another variant of ID, and this version is so vague that it isn't even clear what the point is. Sometime there may ave been a purpose at some point- and this is supposed to be a scientific hypothesis?

But let's look at what the ID proponents actually say.. The primary ID textbook, Of Pandas and Peoples rejected evolution. Of course this is the book that apparently had a litera search and replace from "creationist" to "intelligent design proponents" leading to among other fun bits leading to the infamous ""cdesign proponentsists" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People#Pandas_and_.22cdesign_proponentsists.22 [wikipedia.org] . But let's look at what other ID proponents have said. Michael Behe accepts most of evolution, except for apparent occasional tinkering. His primary example is malaria so you could summarize his views as "There is a designer and he's a bit of a dick". William Demski used to be ok with an old Earth but now questions that and believes in a literal global flood http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Dembski#Southwestern_Baptist_Theological_Seminary_flood_controversy [wikipedia.org] . Paul Nelson is a straight out YEC while claiming that that view isn't common among IDers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Nelson_(creationist) [wikipedia.org] . Etc. Etc. Ad infinitum et nauseam

ID exists to disguise creationism as something more palatable to be taught in schools or discussed by respectable people. But the proponents aren't very good at having anything like a coherent hypothesis, with each of them trying to decide just how vocal a creationist they'll be and which parts of science they'll reject. ID was made to try to infiltrate public schools under the guise of science, and it shows.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809261)

Microevolution? Is that like calling something slow motion and fast forward instead of just saying "motion in the forward direction"? They are the same, dim wit.

Re:Ah, yes! (5, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809339)

There's really no distinction. What is called macro evolution is determined by hindsight, usually because we are only able to compare fossils separated by millions of years. By definition every organism is a member of the same species as its parents. We only place them into discrete categories for taxonomical convenience. It's not a fact of nature, it's a human contrivance to make doing (some aspects) of biology easier.

It's like natural languages. I speak English, a Germanic language. I can speak to my father and mother just fine. I can speak to my grandfather, and also converse in German with him. If my great-grandfather were still alive I'd doubtless have no trouble speaking to him, too. He could speak to his parents. They could speak to their parents, and so on. Each person in the chain can speak to and understand the people directly around them. But if you go back just a few hundred years, I wouldn't be able to easily converse with my ancestors, despite the fact that there is an unbroken chain connecting them to myself linguistically. Farther back and I wouldn't even recognize the language they're speaking as English, or German. So from microevolution comes macroevolution of languages.

So to with biology. If we had access to a fossil or living specimen of every intermediary individual from single cell to human then the very idea of species would become meaningless, lost in the smooth gradient of gradual change. You could line them all up and walk down the line and see them change, almost imperceptibly from one form into another. Every individual would look so much like his parents and offspring that you wouldn't even be able to tell there was a change at all. But you could compare every 10, 100, or 1000 individuals and see that they are in fact changing. At some point they'd be so different as to need a new name, for humans have an almost pernicious compulsion to place things into discrete categories.

Some people find it impossible to break out of this mindset. Some find that their religion even compels them not to try.

Re:Ah, yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809597)

Some people find it impossible to break out of this mindset. Some find that their religion even compels them not to try.

Explain the difference between religion and a contagious mental disease. Now apologize for mocking sick people.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809633)

The micro- and macro-evolution terms are clumsy labels for what they're being used to describe.

Mainstream evolution states that each change is an adaptive measure, but that when taken in concert, over time, can results in a distinct organism. From what I understand, some IDers consider evolution to be a purely adaptive mechanism. That is, if you take a bacteria, drop it in a pond, and let evolution run for a billion years, what you'll end up with is bacteria perfectly adapted to life in that pond; it won't have evolved into a more complex form of life.

Yeah, that means that evolutionary changes won't likely cross the species barrier, but that's not the point of what they're trying to say.

Re:Ah, yes! (5, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809723)

Mutations are random, and most aren't improvements, aren't adaptive. Natural selection then goes to work. The mutations which are better become more numerous by virtue of being better. Detrimental changes terminate the organism's lineage by killing it outright or making it less successful at reproducing. Drop a bacterium into a pond and after a billion years I'd expect to still find bacteria or something analogous in that pond. Ignore the fact that location on the Earth loses meaning at that time scale due to plate tectonics. I'd expect to find bacteria AND lots of other forms of life all over the place everywhere I looked. This demonstrates another misunderstanding ID people have with evolution. Bacteria and humans are equally evolved. We've all been evolving for the same amount of time. Bacteria are just as old as humans, all contemporary species are. No extant species is "less evolved" than any other. You can say they are "more primitive" but what does that really mean? Compared to what?

Anthropocentrism is a vice biologists are broken of early on. Religious people often find the idea that humans aren't special, that the world wasn't made just for us, positively abhorrent. Strangely these same religions often preach humility. What a contradiction.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809785)

This demonstrates another misunderstanding ID people have with evolution. Bacteria and humans are equally evolved.

That's not a misunderstanding of ID people; that's a misunderstanding of evolution by people in general. I blame X-Men, but even stuff like Darwin's Radio falls victim to it. Anything that uses the phrase "next phase of human evolution" is probably doing it.

That's why I used the term "complex" rather than "more evolved" or "advanced". Humans are more complex than bacteria, but "evolved" isn't a measure of complexity, it's a measure of adaptivity, and needs to be contextualized. For instance, humans are poorly evolved for life in deep space; fish are poorly evolved for life on land. Some bacteria are highly evolved for survival in extreme temperature or acidity.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809737)

Mainstream evolution states that each change is an adaptive measure,

No. Evolution can occur due to neutral drift, founder effects http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founder_effect [wikipedia.org] among other causes. Indeed, the founder effect is a major cause of speciation events.

Re:Ah, yes! (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809407)

So, most of the other responses here meet most of the major relevant issues. But one thing that's curious is that while some young earth creationists clam they accept "microevolution" what they mean by this is quite hard to pin down. One common claim is that by microevolution one means evolution below the species level. But Answers in Genesis, the world's largest YEC ministry lists claiming that speciation does not occur as an argument that creationists should not use because the evidence for speciation is so strong. http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use [answersingenesis.org] . Now, here's the really neat bit: A variety of ID proponents argue that speciation doesn't happen. There's an interview in Expelled where one of the ID proponents says that speciation doesn't happen. This isn't the only example. So it looks like the ID proponents are frequently even more reactionary than the most sophisticated YECs. That's what happens when you are constructing viewpoints to sound just plausible enough to have an appearance of controversy and not actually trying to figure out the truth.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809423)

Just not the implications of iterating microevolution over even ten thousand years-- much less a million-- much less a hundred million-- much less a billion years.

Re:Ah, yes! (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809763)

And flat-Earthers accept that the Earth looks round in the exceptional and unimportant case of viewing the planet from the moon.

Re:Ah, yes! (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809063)

That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

I see your intelligently designed cockroaches, and raise you intelligently designed science [io9.com] .

Re:Ah, yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809175)

I see your intelligently designed cockroaches, and raise you intelligently designed science [io9.com] .

Checked the link and it's OK, SFW and isn't an example of Rule 34 either.

Re:Ah, yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809329)

Thank you, Anonymous Coward --- where I would not have trusted a frequent and reliably insightful signed-in Slashdot user's links, I can now rest assured with your 100% wise and trustworthy judgment.

Re:Ah, yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809225)

That Intelligent Designer is a crafty one! You'll never best his cockroaches!

He knew you were going to say that,. and he put a cockroach in your bed to prove it!

Pff (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809435)

If I were designing them, they'd thrive on the poison in the traps. Of course, if I were designing them, the cockroaches would be the focus of the experiment. I'd throw increasingly difficult challenges at them, culminating in some moderately clever primates. Once the cockroach Alpha arises, it would be saved for future study, and the rest of the experiment would be reset. That's the problem with an intelligent designer, isn't it? One tends to believe that they're the focus of the experiment. One tends to think that they will somehow qualify for special treatment. When, in fact, all that awaits you is euthanasia and a brain dissection. And that's if you're one of the lucky ones.

Evolution is bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43808993)

God has a plan for the cock roaches.

Re:Evolution is bullshit (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809357)

There are many copies.

Easy fix to this problem (5, Insightful)

volkerdi (9854) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809035)

Use high fructose corn syrup in the roach motels instead of glucose. I'm surprised they don't do this already, since they use it in everything else.

Re:Easy fix to this problem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809199)

Cockroaches have taste and need quality stuff. High fructose corn syrup is only for lower species.

Re:Easy fix to this problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809301)

That's why cockroaches only go after the Coca-Cola I get from Mexico, and not the locally made corn water.

Re:Easy fix to this problem (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809231)

.... and just leave poison out --- let the diabetes, liver disease, and obesity kill the roaches instead ...

Re:Easy fix to this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809263)

HFCS still has glucose. Why even bother? Make it 100% fructose. Then you wouldn't even need to add poison to the mixture.

Re:Easy fix to this problem (5, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809595)

Most high fructose corn syrup is 42%-53% glucose [wikipedia.org] .

Yes I know this contradicts the conventional wisdom that HFCS is bad, while sucrose (which your body breaks down into 50% fructose / 50% glucose) is good. But the people pushing that agenda aren't really the types who took chemistry in school. It's just called "high fructose" because it has a larger fraction of fructose than regular syrup, which is mostly glucose.

Similar observation with ants (3, Interesting)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809769)

I have noticed over the past few years that ants in my area have "learned" to avoid consuming Raid borax laced syrup. I remember early on in my house that ants would feast on the stuff, sucking large drops dry in a matter of minutes. Now, the new ants crawl up to the syrup I have left, seem to probe it, and then run away quickly. Even if I applied the syrup to an established ant pathway, they go around the drops without consuming any of it. I don't know whether they are averse to eating the sugar, or whether they can somehow sense the borax in the syrup. There seems to be some evolution going on here.

Roach Motel - Free Wifi (5, Funny)

srobert (4099) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809041)

I noticed the roaches weren't going for it, so I added a sign to it: "Free Continental Breakfast, Free Wifi".

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (5, Interesting)

naroom (1560139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809067)

Once wifi has been around for 30+ years, we may start to see pests like roaches and mosquitoes becoming attracted to it. A wifi signal is a good indicator of delicious things nearby.

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809107)

Once wifi has been around for 30+ years, we may start to see pests like roaches and mosquitoes becoming attracted to it. A wifi signal is a good indicator of delicious things nearby.

Cool... then the black vans of the 3-letter-agencies will be easier to discover.

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

plopez (54068) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809115)

You don't think they would be dumb enough to use wifi, do you?

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809333)

Why not? I set my SSID to "NSA Monitoring Van".

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809361)

I'd have to doubt that. Well, not by detecting radio waves. Radio is just our term for a band of the light spectrum, so it's as old as the universe. No living thing on Earth has evolved to make use of that part of the spectrum like has been done for "visible" light, UV, and infrared. It's probably beyond the reach of natural selection, the same way no animal ever evolved something like a wheel despite being enormously more efficient for travel. The intermediary steps are too difficult and wouldn't confer benefit. There's too much "infrastructure" that, while it would pay off in the final product, wouldn't be useful along the way. Evolution has no foresight or agency and can't aim for a distant goal even if that goal would theoretically be incredibly advantageous to some descendant.

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809417)

No living thing on Earth has evolved to make use of that part of the spectrum like has been done for "visible" light, UV, and infrared.

Birds are sensitive to magnetism, and other species have shown some ability to sense similar things (like electric power lines).

With literally billions (at least) of species on the planet, saying "no living thing has whatever" has been found to be generally incorrect.

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809541)

There's a big difference between detecting the rough direction of magnetic North and being able to discern the source of radio waves, and an even bigger difference from being able to pick out specific frequencies against a noisy background. There are also some very good reasons from physics and chemistry [wordpress.com] why a "biological radio" would be impossible to evolve naturally. In short, radio is too low energy to be biologically useful.

Oh and there's an exception about my wheel analogy. Bacteria really did evolve a freely rotating axis used for propulsion. However the physics of the microscopic world is different from what we experience at our scale that our intuitions of what is possible and how matter behaves aren't applicable. The analogy holds as long as we restrict ourselves to larger organisms. No freely rotating axis has ever evolved in a macroscopic animal--the intermediary forms wouldn't work.

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809625)

no animal ever evolved something like a wheel despite being enormously more efficient for travel

1) Sealing the axle to prevent microbial contaminants is expensive.
2) Wheels aren't really good on unpaved ground.
3) If you really need to travel efficiently, flying dominates.

I'm not surprised wheels never got any traction in evolution.

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809767)

no animal ever? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangolin [wikipedia.org]

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809805)

Rolling your whole body or coiling up for protection isn't the same thing as having a freely rotating wheel for transportation. There's never been an animal like the mulefa. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Roach Motel - Free Wifi (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809431)

Don't look now, but they are here [slashdot.org] .

Using cockroaches (1, Interesting)

FishTankX (1539069) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809061)

Well it's simple enough to just redesign the roach motel so it baits them with wheat or something, i'd imagine. But part of me wonders if we would be better off just building a mega roach hotel chocked full of actual food in a neighborhood and instead of killing the roaches with glue, just relocating them into the forest when the roach hotel reaches capacity, or using them as feed for fish or something.

Re:Using cockroaches (4, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809373)

This approach might not work out so well with r-strategy breeders [wikipedia.org] --- you'll fill the house up for sure with happy little roaches, but they won't be leaving the neighbors' homes to get there (just exponentially exploding their population to catch up with the expanded resources). Setting up "guard rows" of tasty pesticide-free crops to lure pests away from agricultural fields works to the extent that said pests are highly mobile and individually "exploring" a wide enough area to "find" the guard rows in preference to the main crops. However, roaches tend to locate and nest in one area (with only "excess population" expanding out into new territory) --- some very lucky bugs will find the new house (and start breeding to fill it), but the roaches behind your kitchen cabinets will stay behind to raise their kids behind your kitchen cabinets.

solution possibly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809075)

blend a mix of starches and sugars. if they avoid all simple and complex carbs, they reduce pop. if they do not, they go in and eat poison.

Re:solution possibly (3, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809137)

blend a mix of starches and sugars. if they avoid all simple and complex carbs, they reduce pop. if they do not, they go in and eat poison.

Ummm... they may start enjoying cellulose, the way termites do.

Better use their mating pheromones for this (yes, I know: may be also a moving target)

Well, yeah... (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809089)

Who's going to go to a hotel full of roaches?

A stoner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809127)

:)

Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (1, Interesting)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809119)

Seriously, did the roaches actually evolve and pass it to their young, or did the specific roaches which HAD the sugar aversion trait simply avoid being poisoned and passed along said aversion to their offspring?

I'm kinda thinking it's the latter.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809143)

Seriously, did the roaches actually evolve and pass it to their young, or did the specific roaches which HAD the sugar aversion trait simply avoid being poisoned and passed along said aversion to their offspring?

I'm kinda thinking it's the latter.

I'm kinda thinking that's evolution.

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

mbeckman (645148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809215)

That's NOT evolution. Evolution is descent with _modification_, specifically through random mutation. Otherwise it's just population selection of existing genes. Which has never been demonstrated.

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

mbeckman (645148) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809223)

Descent with modification of a beneficial mutation has never been demonstrated.

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809309)

It actually has been demonstrated in nature several times... one particular one has happened within the last 50 years in a moth populations camoflauge colors... every single moth ended up a different color that they never were previously except due to a random mutation that became extremely useful when their habitat changed.

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809379)

That's NOT evolution. Evolution is descent with _modification_, specifically through random mutation

So the descendants of those roaches that were genetically predisposed to dislike glucose, and were therefore more fit for survival, did not evolve? Then I have no idea what evolution means, because that sounds exactly like descent with modification through random mutation to me.

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

kimvette (919543) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809505)

Otherwise it's just population selection of existing genes. Which has never been demonstrated.

It has been demonstrated in humans. WARNING: politically incorrect observations follow in the next paragraph. It is not, NOT my intention to offend anyone of any race.

Ever notice how African-American males are often muscular, large boned with large lips, and African-American females tend to have wide hips (thought to be better for childbearing)? This was due to forced mating under American slavery, where (unfortunately) slaves were force-bred to reinforce traits desirable for both hard manual labor and for producing more slaves. Compare an "African-American" to recent immigrants from Africa. Note post-slavery immigrants by and large lack those traits.

Heck, have you ever noticed that races begin? Even though all people are humans, it was when the population spread out that races developed, through inbreeding reinforcing certain genetic traits among families. While going back to the first human primates every one of us is related to one another, all yellow-skinned Asians are more closely related than caucasians are to them. Olive-skinned people a little west in Asia are from the same family, red-skinned Native Americans/First Nation people are from the same family, more closely related to one another than to caucasians, and so on. Each of the races looks different, and yet we are all human, differing in only superficial ways -- which only goes to prove just how stupid racism is.

Ever notice toy sized dogs, dogs with disproportionate legs which lead to hip dysplasia, and so on? Again, this is population selection of existing genes through engineered/directed breeding to reinforce desired traits.

The same has been done with most domesticated animals - particularly horses, chickens, and cows.

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (3, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809771)

Ever notice how African-American males are often muscular, large boned with large lips, and African-American females tend to have wide hips (thought to be better for childbearing)? This was due to forced mating under American slavery, where (unfortunately) slaves were force-bred to reinforce traits desirable for both hard manual labor and for producing more slaves. Compare an "African-American" to recent immigrants from Africa. Note post-slavery immigrants by and large lack those traits.

You know... most western Africans share those traits too. It's not because of slavery. I'd like to see any study showing significant differences between african americans and the population they came from (which cannot be explained by interbreeding with white & indigenous people).

Re: Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809757)

That's NOT evolution. Evolution is descent with _modification_, specifically through random mutation. Otherwise it's just population selection of existing genes. Which has never been demonstrated.

How ignorant can you be? Once you admit selection by fitness you've given away the farm, because mutations are a well established fact. IIRC the rate is so high that you probably have several variations that neither of your parents had.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809719)

That's what you get when schools only teach the controversy. They end up not teaching anything at all.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809159)

What do you think evolution is?

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809179)

did the specific roaches which HAD the sugar aversion trait simply avoid being poisoned and passed along said aversion to their offspring?

But that *is* evolution. Gen N had a mix of glucose aversion and non. All the non died and were selected out, so Gen N+1 have the glucose aversion.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (1)

archer, the (887288) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809291)

I would have thought the evolution step would be the one when the cockroaches went from all glucophiliacs or all glucophobics to having a mix of the two. That might even have occurred before there were cockroaches for all I know. The roach motels were more of a gene-ocide, killing the glucophiliacs. I suspect I should read the article to find out.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (4, Insightful)

DutchUncle (826473) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809299)

Darwin called it "natural selection". "Evolution", like the OP "developed an aversion", suggests something active happened - these bugs changed - rather than something passive - these bugs are the only ones left (because the other ones ate the poison).

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809367)

Darwin called it "natural selection". "Evolution", like the OP "developed an aversion", suggests something active happened - these bugs changed - rather than something passive - these bugs are the only ones left (because the other ones ate the poison).

Poor wording, or poor understanding of the wording. The individual bugs didn't develop an aversion; the population as a whole became more glucose averse over time compared to previous generations. Evolution doesn't happen to a single generation, or a single individual. It is the result of passing on genetic traits to offspring. The species evolves, not the individuals. Granted, from time to time a mutation may arise and contribute to the gene pool, but that's only a statistical anomaly in the process of evolution. The big mover is selection - be it natural, or artificial.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809389)

It'd be a hell of a lot easier to teach evolution if idiot writers stopped using Lamarckian phrases like "developed an aversion ... and passed that trait on to their young" when describing natural selection.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (5, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809669)

Darwin actually called it evolution through the mechanism of natural selection. Evolution is the observation; natural selection is the mechanism whereby certain genes get "selected" for over the generations. The origin of the diversity of the genes is not covered by either term.

Those glucose-aversion genes had to come from somewhere. They may have come from mutation, or crossed from another species, or whatever. Whether they lay "dormant" (that is to say, unselected for) in the genome for centuries, or years before the environmental change that caused them to become beneficial is irrelevant.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809181)

And what exactly is the difference?
The way evolution through natural selection works, the roach that happens to have genetical aversion to sugar will not be poisoned and therefore will have offsprings, who will also avoid being poisoned, and so the roach with this trait will dominate the environment.

Oh, and survival of the fittest is evolution. Whoever gets to reproduce, prevails in the long run. if it's the fittest that gets to reproduce, their genome will prevail.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809649)

And what exactly is the difference? The way evolution through natural selection works, the roach that happens to have genetical aversion to sugar will not be poisoned and therefore will have offsprings, who will also avoid being poisoned, and so the roach with this trait will dominate the environment.

Oh, and survival of the fittest is evolution. Whoever gets to reproduce, prevails in the long run. if it's the fittest that gets to reproduce, their genome will prevail.

None of that explains how a single-celled microorganism eventually becomes a man. Natural selection needs a variety of choices from which to make a selection.

DNA is just a way of encoding information. How does highly ordered and structured information arise out of less ordered and structured information, or out of no information at all if we are going back to the primordial soup idea? It would be reverse entropy.

How does the theory of evolution explain the reverse entropy when everything else we can observe is moving to a more disordered state? What is this reverse entropic force and from what physics does it originate and why don't we see it with anything else? My car does not become less worn out over time. My car is an ordered structured collection of parts. In order to make my car the factory had to ultimatley produce more disorder elsewhere. More disorder than the order represented by my car. This is basic physics. How do biological life and biochemical processes break this law of physics and why don't evolutionists feel a strong need to explain that? If you want an alternative to religion it helps if you are not yourself creating a religion dressed in rational language. Which is what you have if this doesn't have a solid answer.

This is the part where I have never seen a real answer. I have seen lots of invective and obfuscation when this is brought up but never a serious answer showing that the question was understood. The hardcore evolutionists seem far too sensitive and offended by this question to recognize its legitimacy and provide a good answer to it. It is only reasonable for me to wonder if they have one. Meanwhile I am comfortable admitting that much of this life thing is mysterious.

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (1)

cyn1c77 (928549) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809273)

Seriously, did the roaches actually evolve and pass it to their young, or did the specific roaches which HAD the sugar aversion trait simply avoid being poisoned and passed along said aversion to their offspring?

I'm kinda thinking it's the latter.

You're right, it's the latter. But for someone who doesn't understand biology (evolution), the latter is the same as the former!

Re:Is it evolution, or survival of the fittest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809751)

Evolution *is* survival of the fittest long term mode.

Incorrect! (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809125)

Zese scientists are not correct! I shtill love ein bisschen of zis gluclose, especially mit a teensy drop of der schnaps after vork.

Ze real trut is zat my vife und I yust vant to lose a little veight.

Individual versus genetics (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809145)

Researchers soon realized that some roaches had developed an aversion to glucose

How does a roach develop an aversion to glucose? Did they eat just a little - not enough for the poison to kill them - and thus learn from the resulting sickness that they shouldn't eat it again? If so how did they pass this knowledge onto their offspring?

Or did strains of cockroaches that already had an aversion to glucose become more prolific since they weren't killed by the roach traps?

Re:Individual versus genetics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809213)

Or did strains of cockroaches that already had an aversion to glucose become more prolific since they weren't killed by the roach traps?

This. Random mutation happens, and the mutations that lead to better adaptation to the environment lead to reproduction, and as a result are selected for, meaning that those with the mutation survive (reproduce) while the others don't (or rerpduce less)

Re:Individual versus genetics (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809289)

I think he was referring to the way the sentence was phrased. Saying the roaches developed an aversion to glucose implies that individual roaches liked glucose, then stopped liking it for some reason. When what happened is the roaches that liked it, all died, and the ones that didn't like it survived and reproduced.

Re: Individual versus genetics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809355)

Roach motel happened to be right next to roach university, where lucky survivors educated the larvae.

Selective breeding, not evolution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809149)

This is more a case of selective breeding than evolution. Some roaches liked glucose, some didn't. Man came along and by placing roach motels, killed off the ones that like glucose, leaving the glucose hating ones behind.

Re:Selective breeding, not evolution (5, Informative)

janimal (172428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809267)

I just can't believe how many such comments I'm seeing here. Where are the nerds?!

Selective breeding is based on positive feedback, where a human being selects the specimens with a desired trait and breeds them to get more of the same trait in the next generation. That's how you get house pets that do not stand a chance of survival in the wild.

What happened with the cockroaches is the same process conducted by mother nature; only the surviving ones can breed.

Now, here's the kicker for all of you high school dropouts. Both cases are essentially evolution [wikipedia.org] according to the definition in wikipedia.

Re:Selective breeding, not evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809779)

"here's the kicker for all of you high school dropouts."

I'm a High School dropout. I knew about the intricacies of evolution already. Thanks for making me feel inferior, you insensitive clod.

Re:Selective breeding, not evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809307)

Really? omfg...

Re: Selective breeding, not evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809365)

And what do you think constitutes evolution?

I for one welcome our new creepy crawly overlords. (1)

WoodburyMan (1288090) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809187)

I for one welcome our new creepy crawly overlords.

They haven't yet evolved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809219)

to avert my shoe! ;-)

Re:They haven't yet evolved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809265)

Yes but their eggs have evolved to the point where when you crush a a bug full of eggs that the eggs dont get crushed and they attach to your shoe and then you spread the eggs as you walk. So good luck with that...

It takes all the running you can do... (5, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809257)

...just to stay in the same place. Natural selection follows from basic principles of logic. It's so close to first principles that it always amazes me that we had to wait so long for Darwin to show up and slap humanity on the face with the simple truth of it. Living things exist because they inherited what it takes to exist from their ancestors. The ones that didn't have what it took to stay in existence...didn't. The world is full of things that exist. Protons, stars, iron, roaches, people. Natural selection acts on everything. The universe itself may even have been "selected" through some process of cosmogenesis where universes that don't have what it takes, physical laws and constant appropriate to produce stars, black holes, daughter universes, see their lineage die off. Hard to prove, probably impossible, but it is not even a new idea to think natural selection is too powerful and too basic to reality to be confined to biology.

Unless you can eradicate an entire species quickly and completely, all you do is set up a selection pressure which favors mutant individuals who have what it takes to beat your attempts to eradicate them. The ones that don't have what it takes to counter your attack, roach motel or whatever it is, don't survive, and don't pass on their genes which failed to adequately equip them for survival and reproduction.

Arthropod life cycles are very fast so it's not even surprising to see evolution like this happening in just a few decades. I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner.

"German Cockroach"... (2)

G-Man (79561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809271)

...except in Germany, where it's known as the "French Cockroach".

a better class of roach requires a better trap (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809351)

If they've upped their standards and don't like motels, we'll have to increase our efforts, and create roach B&Bs.

Um ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809493)

They've just figured out how this evolved? The roaches with a sweet tooth died more often than the roaches without. Where's the mystery?

Natural Selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43809553)

So, if the cockroaches who have are attracted to the roach motels continue to die generation after generation, then the cockroaches who have an aversion to the roach motels would naturally be a much higher percentage of the population. This isn't evolution (macro or micro), simply natural selection being played out with information already existing in the cockroach population.

Kill all diabetic cockroaches!!! (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809563)

So, basically they killed off all the ones that like sugar enough to die for it and they're calling it evolution?

Roach Motel? (1)

Trogre (513942) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809619)

For anyone else wondering, you want the second link on the Wikipedia disambiguation page.

Well, understandably (2)

houbou (1097327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43809745)

The roaches are probably trying to get a better deal through Priceline! :)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?