Most people think of evolution producing useful traits. But isn’t it also supposed to get rid of useless ones? Science Daily reported work by researchers trying to figure that out. The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina sponsored a team seeking to explore the removal of useless traits by natural selection – termed “relaxed selection” in the literature. “Numerous cases of trait loss illustrate that evolution isn’t necessarily progressive, said one co-author of the study published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Another co-author added, “It seems that not all the same evolutionary rules are followed when you’re losing a trait as when you’re gaining it.” The closest thing to a law or principle they found is that traits tend to get lost faster if they cost more. “The biggest reason why a trait goes away quickly is because it’s costly,” that same co-author said. As an example, they cited blind cave creatures whose eyes deteriorate in the dark. Presumably it requires too much metabolic energy to maintain eyesight. The article was too short to say how they measure cost, or whether exceptions to the rule had been found. Presumably it is easier to lose genetic information than gain it – raising doubts about whether natural selection theory applied to one has anything to do with the other. The cover of the journal shows a cartoon of a herd of zebras standing at a safe distance from a relaxed lion sipping lemonade with an iPod headset on.Once again, evolutionary theory shows its inherent plasticity. It can explain opposite things (see “Evolution Goes Forward, Backward and Sideways,” 12/19/2007). Every law in evolutionary biology is subjective and riddled with exceptions (see 09/15/2008). Biologists moan over the fact that their evolutionary theories do not have the regularities of physics 08/22/2005). This should raise real questions whether evolutionary biology, which tries to reconstruct an unobservable history, deserves the status it gets in science. Maybe it should be classed under Divination (03/14/2003 and 01/25/2008 commentaries).(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
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The new-look Wankhede Stadium was formally inaugurated in Mumbai on Sunday. However, it is still uncertain whether or not the stadium will be allowed to host World Cup matches.The venue is yet to receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department with the chief fire officer saying they will not issue the NOC unless they are fully satisfied.The stadium recently failed a fire inspection, raising concerns that it may not be ready in time for the World Cup matches.One of the main concerns raised by the fire department was the lack of access to fire brigades to all parts of the stadium. Wankhede Stadium is scheduled to host three World Cup matches including the final on April 2.ICC president and Mumbai Cricket Association chief Sharad Pawar, who formally inaugurated the stadium, refused to comment on the issue.
The sights and sounds associated with an Olympic Games are very different from any other sporting event in the world.The Olympics are the mother of all sporting events and nothing else even comes close to matching the scale — on or off the field of play.Even when an athlete finishes his or her competition, they can stay at the Games Village till the end of the Games and take in the sights and sounds on display, not to mention watching other athletes strut their stuff against the world’s best.While a lot of Indian athletes, such as bronze medal-winning shuttler Saina Nehwal as well as bronze and silver medal winning shooters, Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar, have gone back home after the completion of their events, some have stayed back.Indian discus thrower Krishna Poonia is one such athlete who has stayed back — not only watch others compete, but cheer for her contingent.Poonia, who finished seventh in the discus final, enjoyed watching the men’s 100 meters final last week. A couple of days later, she came to the Excel Arena with her husband-cum-coach to cheer for Indian boxing star Vijender Singh.