Evolution of Camouflage
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12-09-2014, 01:38 AM
Evolution of Camouflage
So, I've got a question. Last night, I was rewatching the episode of Cosmos that delves into evolution and how genes work. For a second, they showed a bug that looks like a brown leaf sitting on a branch next to a bunch of other similar-looking leaves.

This got me wondering how evolution adapted this creature and others like it to resemble specific aspects of their environments. How did the mutations "know" what the leaves looked like and that the species would be better off evolving similar camouflage? I understand that mutations occur at random and when they happen to give individuals an edge, they tend to be passed on to others in the species, which eventually leads to gradual change overall. But how the hell does a mutation arise that makes a bug look like the leaves it likes to hang around? Or how does it evolve an ocean-dwelling creature look like one of the plants on the sea floor, or a snake to look like the rocks/leaves in which it lives?

If anyone knows or could point me toward the answer, it's kind of got me scratching my head.

Quick guess so I don't end up looking dumb: Is it more about the predators who hunt the animals in question? Meaning, the bug that happens (because of a mutation) to look a little more like its environment is more likely to go unnoticed, whereas the one who stands out is going to get eaten. Thus, the survivors pass on their genes and, slowly, the whole species is pushed toward looking like it's environment. Yeah? No?

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12-09-2014, 02:07 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
(12-09-2014 01:38 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Is it more about the predators who hunt the animals in question? Meaning, the bug that happens (because of a mutation) to look a little more like its environment is more likely to go unnoticed, whereas the one who stands out is going to get eaten. Thus, the survivors pass on their genes and, slowly, the whole species is pushed toward looking like it's environment.

Yup.
At least that's my understanding of it.

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12-09-2014, 03:42 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
Don't project human thought on evolution, it really is just gene variation and or mutation and not cognition on the species part. That is much more freaky to know it was just a process than to insert a inept sky hero who loves sitting on his hands watching us beat the shit out of each other.

There really is no cognition going on at the gene level, it is mere adaptation.

The difference between evolution as an answer and god of the gaps as an answer is which seems to be tougher to win? A race that is not rigged or a race that is rigged?

Evolution is reality without the fictional safety net. God is merely a mental placebo.

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12-09-2014, 04:54 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
Okay... it really is kind of (In a simple, lay-man's terms.) survival of them what looks most like something you don't want to eat.

So... is.. some where in the dim, dark past a bug happened to look a little more brown than it's egg clutch mates. It had more of a chance to survive and find an also slightly more brown mate. Their spawn had a slight edge etc, etc, etc.

Over time the bugs that more and more looked like something that was NOT worth eating survived to have more spawn who would be selected for "Don't eat the dead leaf" form.

Today in a bay in Japan there's a tendency to throw back crabs who's shells just happen to look like a human face. Of course... you can kind of guess what is happening. More and more crabs who's shells just happen to look like a human face are being caught.

Is a funny old world, in it?

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12-09-2014, 06:02 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
(12-09-2014 02:07 AM)One Above All Wrote:  
(12-09-2014 01:38 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Is it more about the predators who hunt the animals in question? Meaning, the bug that happens (because of a mutation) to look a little more like its environment is more likely to go unnoticed, whereas the one who stands out is going to get eaten. Thus, the survivors pass on their genes and, slowly, the whole species is pushed toward looking like it's environment.

Yup.
At least that's my understanding of it.

Bingo. That's it in a nutshell. Thumbsup

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12-09-2014, 08:17 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
Short answer:




Longer answer:




"Just about a 5% advantage compounded year in and year out turned the whole population black... if dark colour gives mice a 1% competitive advantage and you start with 1% of the mice being black in about 1000 years 95% of the mice will be dark. If instead the dark colour gives a 10% advantage this only takes 100 years."

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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12-09-2014, 08:30 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
(12-09-2014 08:17 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  "Just about a 5% advantage compounded year in and year out turned the whole population black... if dark colour gives mice a 1% competitive advantage and you start with 1% of the mice being black in about 1000 years 95% of the mice will be dark. If instead the dark colour gives a 10% advantage this only takes 100 years."

Statistics is a magical thing.

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12-09-2014, 02:17 PM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
It happened very quickly in the UK during the industrial revolution...

There's a species of moth that rests on white coloured bark, it is camouflaged accordingly.

As industry spread, the trees were blackened with soot, and the moths changed from white to black within about 20 years...

After laws were introduced to try and reduce the amount of smog and soot in the air, the trees were no longer coated in soot, and within 20 years, the moths returned to their white camouflage...

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13-09-2014, 12:23 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
(12-09-2014 03:42 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  Don't project human thought on evolution, it really is just gene variation and or mutation and not cognition on the species part. That is much more freaky to know it was just a process than to insert a inept sky hero who loves sitting on his hands watching us beat the shit out of each other.

There really is no cognition going on at the gene level, it is mere adaptation.

Hence my use of quotations with the word "know."

When speaking about such matters, I see no issue using anthropomorphic language so long as there's at least an implication that we're aware that it's not meant to be taken literally.

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13-09-2014, 12:52 AM
RE: Evolution of Camouflage
(13-09-2014 12:23 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  
(12-09-2014 03:42 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  Don't project human thought on evolution, it really is just gene variation and or mutation and not cognition on the species part. That is much more freaky to know it was just a process than to insert a inept sky hero who loves sitting on his hands watching us beat the shit out of each other.

There really is no cognition going on at the gene level, it is mere adaptation.

Hence my use of quotations with the word "know."

When speaking about such matters, I see no issue using anthropomorphic language so long as there's at least an implication that we're aware that it's not meant to be taken literally.

Well, the use of that kind of language seems to lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

For clarity, I avoid it.

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