Friday, March 06, 2009
Dance or Die to Evolution's Beat
"This everyday lizard has recently made the news by making a radical change in its behavior to deal with invasive fire ants.
When threatened, the Eastern fence lizard normally holds still so it can't be easily spotted by predators. Around fire ants, however, the tactic means the ants can more easily attack and kill the lizard.
So what's a lizard to do? Those who are oddly and fortunately wired to jiggle, jerk and escape fire ant attacks rather than sit there and be bitten to death are surviving and passing that ability on to their offspring.
Oh, and some lizards are also growing longer legs, which makes it harder for the ants to get to them. Our prediction? More and more lizards will turn up with longer legs."
Credit: Virginia Tech
I posted the above to illustrate my contentions posted below. Which would infer that "oddly and fortunately wired" doesn't so quickly occur by the fortunate stroke of serendipity. In my view, there's an "intelligent" feedback system involved in these changes that we have only begun to understand - or perhaps that should read only I have barely begun, etc..
But these systems, to which we owe the existence of instinctive behaviors, have doubtless been themselves evolving over the millennia into more and more complex and efficient functional structures.