army ants didn't evolve

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Helen, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    We no longer have an evolution/creation forum, but this was so interesting I wanted to share it. The point of the article is that the advent of army ants happened only once -- long before continental division. This is exactly what Genesis indicates with the creation of animals by kind during creation week. So, for those who are interested...

    (yes, I know I'm months behind...this was out last May)

    ============

    "The common scientific belief has been that army
    ants originated separately on several continents
    over millions of years, but a Cornell University
    entomologist has discovered that these ants come
    from the same point of origin; since the reign
    of the dinosaurs about 100 million years ago,
    army ants have not changed a bit."

    Linked:
    http://www.newswise.com/p/articles/view/?id=ARMYANT.CNS


    Appended:
    Source: Cornell University Released: Tue
    06-May-2003, 00:00 ET
    Army Ants Have Defied Evolution for 100 Million
    Years
    Libraries
    Science News Keywords
    army ants evolution Gondwana entomology

    Contact Information
    Available for logged-in reporters only

    Description
    The common scientific belief has been that army
    ants originated separately on several continents
    over millions of years, but a Cornell University
    entomologist has discovered that these ants come
    from the same point of origin; since the reign
    of the dinosaurs about 100 million years ago,
    army ants have not changed a bit.

    Army ants, nature's ultimate coalition task
    force, strike their prey en masse in a blind,
    voracious column and pay no attention to the
    conventional wisdom of evolutionary biologists.

    The common scientific belief has been that army
    ants originated separately on several continents
    over millions of years. Now it is found there
    was no evolution. Using fossil data and the
    tools of a genetics detective, a Cornell
    University entomologist has discovered that
    these ants come from the same point of origin,
    because since the reign of the dinosaurs, about
    100 million years ago, army ants in essence have
    not changed a bit.

    "Biologists have wondered why army ants, whose
    queens can't fly or get caught up by the wind,
    are yet so similar around the world. Army ants
    have evolved only once and that was in the
    mid-Cretaceous period," says Sean Brady, a
    Cornell postdoctoral researcher in entomology,
    whose study was conducted while he was doctoral
    candidate at the University of California-Davis.

    Brady's paper, "Evolution of army ant syndrome:
    the unique origin and long-term evolutionary
    stasis of a novel complex of behavioral and
    reproductive adaptation," will be published on
    the Web by the Proceedings of the National
    Academy of Science (PNAS) Online Early Edition
    between May 5 and May 9 before being printed in
    PNAS.

    Army ants are quite unlike the ants commonly
    found at family picnics. They have what
    scientists call the "army ant syndrome,"
    comprising three characteristics: the ants are
    nomadic, they forage for prey without advance
    scouting, and their wingless queens can produce
    up to 4 million eggs in a month. While this
    syndrome is found in every army ant species
    around the world, scientific papers have
    postulated that army ants evolved these
    characteristics multiple times after the breakup
    of the supercontinent Gondwana about 100 million
    years ago.

    In total, Brady studied the DNA of 30 army ant
    species and 20 possible ancestors within the
    army ant community, divided between the New
    World species in Ecitoninae and the Old World
    groups Aenictinae and Dorylinae. He specifically
    sought information from four different genes to
    uncover clues to their relationships.
    "Essentially I built a genetic family tree. Then
    I took that family tree and looked at its
    genetic tree rings to postulate what happened in
    the past," he said.

    Brady combined the genetic data with the army
    ant fossil information and the ants'
    morphological (form and structure) information
    to establish ages for the different ant species.
    Combining this data, Brady found that all the
    species share some of the same genetic
    mutations. "If they share those mutations, we
    can infer they evolved from the same source,"
    Brady said.

    Instead of proving the common assumption that
    the Old World and the New World army ants
    developed their lineage independently on
    separate continents, the entomologist showed the
    ants evolved only once -- on Gondwana.

    Brady examined the army ants' behavior on his
    trips to the Amazon jungle, Brazil's savanna
    region and the country's coastal rain forest
    near São Paulo. Periodically millions of army
    ants would march together through his camp, he
    says, like a flowing river of red. While the
    ants move silently, their presence is announced.
    "The other insects are scared, and they make
    noises as they flee the invading army," Brady
    says. "Ant birds follow the ants from the sky
    and feast on the remnants left behind by the
    ants. You will hear the high-pitched chirping of
    the other insects, and you'll hear them and
    other small animals scurrying in fear. They know
    what is next."

    Related World Wide Web sites: The following
    sites provide additional information on this
    news release. Some might not be part of the
    Cornell University community, and Cornell has no
    control over their content or availability.

    o PNAS Online Early Edition:
    http://www.pnas.org/papbyrecent.shtml

    © 2003 Newswise. All Rights Reserved.
     
  2. Brett

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    Army ants didn't evolve? The article states at least twice that army ants did evolve, but only once.

     
  3. Helen

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    They are presuming they evolved there, not showing it.

    If they evolved, they evolved from regular old ants, nothing else. There is no evidence, even in the slightest, of anything else happening.
     
  4. UTEOTW

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    I do not believe that the subject heading matches what is posted below it. It was commonly believed in the past that the three separate sub-families underwent convergent evolution. What has been shown by this paper is that rather than convergent evolution, the three sub-families actually share a common ancestor that existed at a time when the continents were joined. It certainly does not say that army ants did not evolve. It rather says that rather than the traditionally held belief that the three sub-families of army ants evolved separately and just happened to find similar solutions to similar problems ("army ant syndrome") that instead they all came from one common ancestor. More importantly, it is interesting that YECs are willing to accept the DNA data that shows army ants had a single common ancestor when they think it suits their purpose but are unwilling to accept the very same type of evidence when it shows a much deeper nested heirarchy than the idea of "kinds." This is also another good example of how scientists are willing to accept new data as it becomes available. Additionally, the author metions in his paper ( http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=164488 ) that recent fossil discoveries support a Cretaceous origin for ants, consistent with the DNA data. Interestingly, ants are believed to have evolved from wasps (or at least wasp-like insects) and the new fossils have some characteristics very similar to wasps ( http://bss.sfsu.edu:224/courses/Spring99Projects/ants.htm - "The two workers probably from the same colony are dated around 100 million years ago. The workers combine wasp like characteristics with such other features as a well formed petiolar node, which is defiantly characteristic of ants forming small colonies of interdependent, hence socialized individuals (Gotwald 1995)." It looks like we may have found another transitional fossil. [​IMG]
     
  5. Helen

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    oh help

    So where did the wings come from, and since wings are such a wonderful advantage, why did they lose them?

    Come on, UTE, you can't be swallowing all this stuff!
     
  6. UTEOTW

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    So do we have an army ant "kind?"

    Or, based on your above statement, is it the ant "kind?" Ants have an estimated 20,000 species. That's a lot of microevolving.

    Or, based on my citation above showing the ancestor to army ants to have wasp characteristics and that scientists think that their evidence shows ants to have evolved from waps, is it the Hymenoptera "kind?" Now you are talking about 115,000 known species of wasps, ants and bees.
     
  7. UTEOTW

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    I do not know about wings. I am not too up on insect evolution.

    But, we do have a study here where DNA, morphology and fossils are combined to give us an answer that all army ants share a common ancestor. But when the same kind of methods are used to show other common ancestors that do not fit what you believe, you are perfectly willing to throw them out capriciously.
     
  8. Helen

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    Please evidence where I have EVER thrown anything out 'capriciously.' In your lack of knowledge about insects, it does seem you are 'attacking the man' (in this case a woman) rather than discussing the evidence.

    There is no problem with army ants from ants. There is a major problem with ants from wasps, however. And, finally, the concept of convergent evolution, at least in this case of army ants, has been squashed. They originated in one place at one time. This does not surprise those who believe the Bible is correct.
     
  9. UTEOTW

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    I apologise if it seems I am attacking you personally.

    What I am attacking is the sense that you are willing to accept genetic, morphological, and fossil evidence in the case of army ants that show them to have a common ancestor. But in the past you have not been willing to accept the same kind of data that show a nested heirarchy like what the theory of evolution posits. Subjects that come to mind are the Vitamin C debates and shared pseudogenes between humans and apes. With enough time, it should be possible to pour through the archives to find more examples, but I do not plan to do so. I believe that in such cases you have chosen not to accept that data because it disagrees with what you believe to be the truth and not because of fundamental differences in the way the data has been gathered. More fundamentally, I think that the same kind of genetic, morphological, and fossil that you are accepting in the case of army ants can be used to show a twin nested heirarchy life that supports the theory of evolution. Accepting in one case and not in the other is what I find capricious. In a more general sense, IMHO, there seems to be a pattern among YECers to pick and choose what parts of science they accept while being willing to both ignore other similar work and the consequences of what they are accepting.

    Now, like I said, I know very litle about ant evolution. You say there are problems with ant evolution from wasps. Can you cite anything? All I really have to go on at this point is the reference to the fossil ant above that still retains wasp characteristics.
     
  10. Major B

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    Army ants did not evolve, they were either drafted or they enlisted!
     
  11. HankD

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    Yes and these were know as Air Force ants.

    HankD
     
  12. Paul of Eugene

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    There are other examples of giving up the wonderful advantages of flight in evolution. The Ostrich and the Kiwi bird come to mind.

    Consider termites. When a new king and queen termite start out life, they have wings, and then they fly somewhere, mate, and chew off their wings to never fly again.

    Their way of life, you see, has no further use for wings.

    Of species, like individuals, it may truly be said, "use it or lose it!"

    So Helen, is the only problem for ants descending from Wasps that one would suppose they would never give up their wings to become ants? If that is the only problem, it really isn't a problem.
     

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