" We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." - Dissent from Darwin

Natural selection [is used] carelessly as a mantra, as in the evidence-free “just-so stories” concocted out of thin air by mentally lazy adaptationists. (Stephen Jay Gould)

In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence. (Isaac newton)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How FISH learnt to grunt

"Next time you're at a loud singles bar, thank a fish for inspiration." Here's why: When a male midshipman fish eyes a competitor swimming too close, he chases off the interloper with an audible grunt. To attract a mate, he hums loudly for hours on end. Now these cries have attracted researchers seeking to figure out whether noisy animals, from fish to mammals, have a common ancestor that gave them the ability to vocalize. Researchers studied the larvae of three closely related species of bony fish—the midshipman fish, Gulf toadfish and oyster toadfish—that make sounds by squeezing their swim bladders up to 200 times per second. They report in Science that the parts of the brain and spinal cord that control the rhythm of those muscles develop in a pattern similar to that of other vocalizing animals, which suggests a common origin. Of course, the instruments being played by these brain cells—swim bladders in fish; the larynx in mammals—probably evolved independently. Think of that next time you're listening to a tall fishing story.

Storyteller: Andrew H. Bass, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University,

Evolutionary Origins for Social Vocalization in a Vertebrate Hindbrain–Spinal Compartment
Grunting, humming fish joins ancient chorus

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