Peter and Rosemary Grant are evolutionary biologists at Princeton University. The Grants are best known for their hallmark studies on the evolution of Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos Islands. For six months out of the year, the Grants capture, tag, and take blood samples of the finches on the island. Their work that started in 1973 provides the most captivating evidence for Darwinian natural selection since Darwin himself.
GENETICS AND SUICIDE
This video describes the heritability of suicidality. When there is a family history of suicide, the probability of another family member attempting suicide substantially increases, even if previous attempts in the family are unknown.
Vestigiality involves those traits or features occurring in animals that have lost all or most of their original functionality over time. Although structures called vestigial organs often appear useless, a vestigial structure may retain lesser functions, develop minor new ones. Charles Darwin listed a number of possible human vestigial features in his book, The Descent of Man (1890). These included muscles of the ear, wisdom teeth, the appendix, and our tail bone.
“The stories are true of the tail from long ago, of a huge and devastating outbreak of a disease called polio. The infectious disease devastated cities from near to far, the sudden outbreak seemed as if it fell from a shooting star. It wasn’t until John Salk developed a polio vaccine, and finally the end of the epidemic could be seen. With inactivated virus he developed injections, that helped prevent the start of polio infections.”
“For humans it’s called polygamy, but for animals it’s polygany. The goal is to mate with as many individuals as possible. The more you mate, the more kids you make. And that my friends is reproductive success.”
“Hail to the hydrilla of invasive species, that inhabits the waters from many lakes and oceans. So many ways of spreading its genes, it’s a wonder how it can be so clever and keen. From tubers to fragments and turions to rhizomes, hydrilla easily spreads its progeny across the biome. Utilizing r-selection over k-selection as it’s key reproductive trait, its rapid spread is sealed in fate.”