Monday, April 5, 2010
Do Atavisms have a Purpose?
Coyne discusses atavisms, which is "an anomaly that looks like the reappearance of an ancestral trait" (64-55). He continues by providing examples, such as the legs of whales. Why do you think atavisms occur? Is it because of genetics, evolutionary pressure, or for some other reason? Provide an example of such an occurrence that has been cited or studied that supports your reasoning for why atavisms occur. Also, do you think that atavisms can be evidence of devolution? Provide examples, if any exist, and explain how they apply. Finally, consider atavisms in the context of the mechanism of evolution: natural selection. Is it selectively advantageous for organisms to be able to have atavisms and why?