If You Seal It Off, They Will Evolve

| 45 Comments

Here’s a pretty cool example of how isolated environments lead to the evolution of new species. The more isolated, the more unique:

Prehistoric ecosystem found in Israeli cave

Israeli scientists said on Wednesday they had discovered a prehistoric ecosystem dating back millions of years.

The discovery was made in a cave near the central Israeli city of Ramle during rock drilling at a quarry. Scientists were called in and soon found eight previously unknown species of crustaceans and invertebrates similar to scorpions.

“Until now eight species of animals were found in the cave, all of them unknown to science,” said Dr Hanan Dimantman, a biologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. […]

The cave was completely sealed off from the world, including from water and nutrients seeping through rock crevices above. Scientists who discovered the cave believe it has been intact for millions of years.

“Every species we examined had no eyes which means they lost their sight due to evolution,” said Dimantman.

The cave is an “island” of sorts, and like islands out in the ocean, it has unique species that can be found nowhere else. Isolated populations that have their gene pools cut-off from their parent populations tend to speciate rather quickly.

45 Comments

That guy in the pic doesn’t look kosher.

If it was truly sealed off, what was the chemosynthetic (presumably) primary productivity which drove the ecosystem?

This came out back in January 2006: 27 Unknown Creatures Found in California Caves

Perhaps I’m missing something, or this is a misquote, but if this is true, “The cave was completely sealed off from the world, including from water and nutrients seeping through rock crevices above,” how did those animals survive? With no sunlight and no nutrients from the outside world, where did the energy come from to support this ecosystem?

Hebrew U. News has a bit more. This seemed a tad strange:

The underground cave includes an underground lake, in which the crustaceans were found. The lake is part of the Yarkon-Taninim aquifer, one of Israel’s two aquifers, yet is different in temperature and chemical composition from the main waters of the aquifer. The lake’s temperature and salinity indicates that its source is deep underground.

Among the interesting features of the discoveries thus far in the cave is that two of the crustaceans are seawater species and two others are of a types found in fresh or brackish water. This can provide insights into events occurring millions of years ago regarding the history of ancient bodies of water in the region.

Ahem.

These are clearly still just a kind of crustacean!

Harrumph!

Won’t the opening of the cave have contaminated the ecosystem? Especially the bacterial populations. And spores, what about spores? Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted…

and of course we wouldn’t even have known about it unless someone had.

catch 22?

this is really cool.

The Kent Hovind’s and Dembski’s of the world will say these creatures show “devolution” losing complex organs and not gaining any. No new information was added.

The biospeleology literature is filled with descriptions of ecosystems limited to one or a few caves, as well as studies of the energy dynamics driving the ecosystems. In the vast majority of cases, there is an input of water-borne detritus, bat feces, nuts or seeds collected by rats, etc. In some cases, new chemotrophic bacteria have been discovered.

There have also been detections of organisms apparently living within non-karstified, more or less consolidated rock, which make use of different (e.g., sulfur-based) metabolic pathways to extract energy.

I know it’s a long-shot, but these sorts of discoveries always fill me with hope that life will eventually be found on Mars.

(must not make obvious joke … must not make obvious joke …) .

Seems like this disproves evilution. IF evilution were true those organisms would have turned into human beings. Especially since they were in Israel. C’mon.

fnxtr Wrote:

These are clearly still just a kind of crustacean!

And besides, if they evolved from crustaceans, why are there still crustaceans?

Cave organisms are characterized by a suite of adaptations that allow successful exploitation of these environments. It’s not just a matter of the loss of eyes and pigment, it’s lower metabolic rates, neoteny, and delayed reproduction.

For creationism it’s a matter of superimposing known mutation rates combined with the slow reproduction of cave adapted organisms on the 6000 yr time scale, doesn’t really work. ID, well, it says nothing as far as I can tell and is useless.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

If it was truly sealed off, what was the chemosynthetic (presumably) primary productivity which drove the ecosystem?

I don’t know, but I found about as much as seems to be on the free web, here:

http://www.huji.ac.il/cgi-bin/dovru[…]691205976587

They do credit bacteria as being the primary food source, but don’t say what the bacteria are using for energy. If one hazards a guess from other chemoautotrophic-based systems, the fact that the cave is said to be where seas were would suggest that the bacteria could be utilizing hydrocarbons. Naturally, other chemicals might supply the energy.

Nevertheless, I cannot believe in the slightest that the cave was entirely sealed off (credit where it is due: the Hebrew U site that I link to does not say that the system was completely sealed off). Where is the oxygen coming from for the crustaceans? It makes no sense. There has to be enough exchange with the atmosphere to supply the oxygen, regardless of the source of reduced chemicals.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

There was an item in Science (2002; 298(5595):953-955) that discussed eye reduction in blind cave fish. Apparently, 1 gene affects jaws and teeth–AND–it also affects eye development, leading to blind fish with big jaws and more teeth in subterranean relatives of sighted fish having small jaws and fewer teeth that live in surface streams. (This was an article dealing with various evo-devo examples.)

When I was a student I lived in Yucatan, Mexico. The small village I lived in, an the many I visited, relied on wells for water. Most wells that I was familiar with tapped underground streams- even rivers.

In the dry seasons, the water level dropped so that the water level in the well was much lower. In very dry years the bucket lowered into the well was swept down the river channel and would be drawn back along the rook of the river’s cave. Frequent fish and crustacians were brought up in the buckets. I tried to interest some biologists looking for PhD projects, but to no avail. I have no need of a second Ph.D.

PS: I still know where these underground rivers can be accessed.

They’ve had millions of years so why haven’t they evolved into giant whales or something?

Comment #103223

Posted by fnxtr on May 31, 2006 02:23 PM (e)

Ahem.

These are clearly still just a kind of crustacean!

Harrumph!

That’s right! T’ain’t never seen no crawdaddy turn himself into a catfish! ;)

There have also been detections of organisms apparently living within non-karstified, more or less consolidated rock, which make use of different (e.g., sulfur-based) metabolic pathways to extract energy.

In central Kentucky, as well as other caves in the US and central America, there are cave ecosystems based on hydrogen sulfide with bacterial sulfur oxidizers and reducers growing in large mats in streams at the bottom of the food chain. I’ve seen cave adapted crawdads Orconectes sp. in pools downstream from the main sulfur water input presumably feeding on the goodies growing upstream. Spiders galore occupied the main room with little dangly web strands that had low ph water droplets teeming with bacteria, nummy nummy.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

That’s right! T’ain’t never seen no crawdaddy turn himself into a catfish! ;)

*ahem*

IIRC, i think the word you’re looking for is “hisself”

PS: I still know where these underground rivers can be accessed.

I remember when i was doing research in Mexico, the local universities always appreciated any tips on what might be interesting research projects, and quid pro quo was a big deal there.

Just a thought in case you ever decide to return there.

This find totally supports our Intelligent Design theory. We don’t know how yet, but it sure does.

Your pals @ the Disco Institute.

;-)

This find totally supports our Intelligent Design theory. We don’t know how yet, but it sure does.

Something happens in the dark where nobody sees it, completely isolated from the rest of reality.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

test

Grand Moff Texan Wrote:

(must not make obvious joke … must not make obvious joke …) .

PREHISTORIC LIFE FOUND DEEP BENEATH THE EARTH! Dinosaurs expected to issue forth shortly. Please be advised: if you life in a major world city, you may be under elevated alert. I want to see ducktape, people!

Note: Dinosaurs may be blind, due to millenia of cave-living. Scientists have tentatively dubbed these creatures Duyuthinkisaurus.

Wheels Wrote:

Scientists have tentatively dubbed these creatures Duyuthinkisaurus.

Actually, the full genus and species is Duyuthinkisaurus apussicat. Reports that they are yellow with oversized heads and feet are completely unsubstantiated.

Since this ecosystem was found in the Holy Land, will we have to ask Carol to translate the creatures’ genomes from the original Hebrew?

ROFL RB Since this ecosystem was found in the Holy Land, will we have to ask Carol to translate the creatures’ genomes from the original Hebrew?

I doubt it, but how about original neanderthal ?

Modern Human Origins and Neanderthal Extinctions in the Levant .

Oh well it’s all Greek to her. [snikker] Thank Zues.

The cave was completely sealed off from the world, including from water and nutrients seeping through rock crevices above.

If it was “completely sealed”, what did the critters eat? Life can’t exist without *some* outside form of energy.

The cave was completely sealed off from the world, including from water and nutrients. Hum! this is remarkably similar to the environment experienced by those “critters” in the Disco Institute. As you can testify these Disco cave critters are all blind since they have no need for eyes to see reality. But even better since they don’t have any use for the brain said organ is irreversibly been lost.

We should be really careful not to contaminate these unusual environments. Any old bacteria sloughing off a human diver could compromise anything living there.

I wrote that slightly naive comment, then I read down the line of comments, and I realized that you are a mostly highly educated bunch twistards. This is excellent.

We should be really careful not to contaminate these unusual environments. Any old bacteria sloughing off a human diver could compromise anything living there.

Or we could open one of these caves and unwittingly unleash a horde of giant blind scorpions upon the earth. I saw it in a movie once.

No no, it’s giant ants. Or Rodan. Or Jimmy Hoffa.

Giant “nucularized” Jimmy Hoffa!

run for your lives!

We should be really careful not to contaminate these unusual environments. Any old bacteria sloughing off a human diver could compromise anything living there.

This was/is a concern in a large cave system in New Mexico. During the early exploration, a caver swam across a pool to investigate a passage on the far side. This pool was also the only source of drinking water in this section of the cave. This was filmed and shown on TV. He was duly chastised for his thoughtlessness. Now there is a dedicated dipper for filling water bottles, nothing is allowed in the pool. Everything that goes in the cave comes out. Little burrito bags carefully packed and water bottles of maple syrup colored liquid.

Giant “nucularized” Jimmy Hoffa!

Radon, neeeed more Radon.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

“Maple syrup colored”?

Those guys need to drink more water.

“It goes in beer, it comes out clear.”

Lenny/Bruce:

“Maple syrup colored”?

Those guys need to drink more water.

I think Bruce is talking about the mass-produced maple-flavoured substitute, not the real stuff from the Maine/Quebec source. That’s lovely and dark, almost like Guinness…

Another reason to love PT. Even the tangential OT posts are fascinating.

“Maple syrup colored”?

Those guys need to drink more water.

The volume of liquid after several days gets quite large. You sweat out a lot of water and staying hydrated is a problem during a trip, but dragging around gallons of water every day from base camp is not really an option and dragging out all the urine is even worse.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

I’m completely surprised that no creationist has jumped on the quote “.. they lost their sight due to evolution.” It would seem to that that’s the perfect opening through which one could drive a manure trucks’ worth of ignorance. We’d then have to explain how mutations for eyesight are reinforced by utility and since there was no utility bad mutations weren’t selected out and accumulated and yadda yadda yadda…

So if those fish had only been repentant of their sins, they could have kept their sight? (Even if they couldn’t use it for anything in that cave?) :)

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on May 31, 2006 1:40 PM.

Intelligent Design Lacks Fertility was the previous entry in this blog.

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