Canis lupus arctos

| 43 Comments

Photograph by Alexandra Young.

Arctic Wolf in Bear Country USA SD by Alex Young.jpg

Canis lupus arctos, arctic wolf, South Dakota.

43 Comments

Did somebody cry “wolf”?

That’s a beautiful animal.

Nah. It’s either a Samoyed or an albino thylacine. :)

Arctic wolf in South Dakota?

I actually did some field work in the Arctic (Ellesmere Island, 1985), and we had an arctic wolf come by and watch us for about an hour. It did NOT look so beautiful and noble as this one. I’d waken up in the middle of our “sleep period” (no night in the summer), and my first thought when I saw it was something on the order of, “What’s a scraggly white german shepherd doing here?”

And yeah, South Dakota?

Ellesmere Island? Isn’t that where Tiktaalik was found?

Karen S. said:

Ellesmere Island? Isn’t that where Tiktaalik was found?

Yeah, but we were a bit farther north, working on sediments a lot younger; 70-40 million years. Shubin et al. spent a lot more time, in much worse weather, than we did. Most of the time we were there (mid-July to mid-August) it was actually pretty pleasant, mid-40s to high 60s (F).

I’d go back in a heartbeat. It’s a beautiful, desolate, and unique place.

I’ve been told they can’t grow sunflowers north of the Arctic Circle, ‘cause during the month-long summer day, they twist thier own heads off.

Arctic wolf in South Dakota?

Oh, sorry - the photograph was taken at a wildlife park, Bear Country USA, in South Dakota. The arctic wolf is not indigenous there.

Of course, it is white because of a lack of the pigment, eumelanin - the same being true for white-skinned humans. Evolutionary adaptation often involves a loss of features. Those of you who are white, blue-eyed and blond are quasi-albinos with a little eumelanin instead of none at all. You are the mutants whereas black people are the wild type.

Atheistoclast said:

Of course, it is white because of a lack of the pigment, eumelanin - the same being true for white-skinned humans. Evolutionary adaptation often involves a loss of features. Those of you who are white, blue-eyed and blond are quasi-albinos with a little eumelanin instead of none at all. You are the mutants whereas black people are the wild type.

Are you saying that Adam & Eve were black? Better let Ken Ham know so he can correct his A & E diorama.

Just Bob said:

Atheistoclast said:

Of course, it is white because of a lack of the pigment, eumelanin - the same being true for white-skinned humans. Evolutionary adaptation often involves a loss of features. Those of you who are white, blue-eyed and blond are quasi-albinos with a little eumelanin instead of none at all. You are the mutants whereas black people are the wild type.

Are you saying that Adam & Eve were black? Better let Ken Ham know so he can correct his A & E diorama.

If they lived in Africa, they were black.

Further comments from the Atheistoclast troll will mutate to the Bathroom Wall.

Matt Young said:

Further comments from the Atheistoclast troll will mutate to the Bathroom Wall.

Now that’s an intelligent design!

Now that’s an intelligent design!

Sounds like a natural selection to me! :p

Henry J said:

Now that’s an intelligent design!

Sounds like a natural selection to me! :p

Perhaps suppose you’re right and this shouldn’t count as ID.

After all, I’m willing to overtly identify the designer and form reasonable, testable hypotheses about the designer’s motivation and methods.

Atheistoclast said:

Of course, it is white because of a lack of the pigment, eumelanin - the same being true for white-skinned humans. Evolutionary adaptation often involves a loss of features. Those of you who are white, blue-eyed and blond are quasi-albinos with a little eumelanin instead of none at all. You are the mutants whereas black people are the wild type.

That’s racism of a different color, @$$hole.

dalehusband said:

Atheistoclast said:

Of course, it is white because of a lack of the pigment, eumelanin - the same being true for white-skinned humans. Evolutionary adaptation often involves a loss of features. Those of you who are white, blue-eyed and blond are quasi-albinos with a little eumelanin instead of none at all. You are the mutants whereas black people are the wild type.

That’s racism of a different color, @$$hole.

Actually, this is an example of AC saying something that is more or less technically accurate, at least according to contemporary thinking. There is nothing remotely racist about this statement in isolation. Of course, describing an entire individual as a “mutant” is poor terminology, but the term was used that way for decades in fruit fly research.

I bother to mention this because one AC sometimes has a tendency to set up his crazy claims with some accurate statements, so if we are going to bother to argue with him, we shouldn’t let him goad us into arguing with something that is more or less valid.

Another example is his frequent statements that DNA sequences (actually, coding frame sequences only) can be conceptualized as digital instructions. That is, in fact, essentially true. It’s a redundant quartenary digital code in which triplets with four elements (A, T, C, or G) code for 22 possible amino acids plus some “start” and “stop” codons. 4^3 = 64, and there are less than 30 things to “code” for, so the code is redundant. This in no, way, shape or form implies any magic, miracles, or gods, whatsoever; on the contrary, it provides a major non-magical explanation for an important aspect of life. But it is the case that saying that the genetic code is digital is a neutral, accurate statement.

Lighter skin has an association with environments where there is less UV radiation from the sun per unit time (either due to climate or choice of habitat). We do have to balance that with the observation that humans of any skin tone can live fairly easily in almost any environment. There have been rare cases of rickets in children of African descent in Scandinavia (fortunately, detected early in the modern medicine era), but for the most part, humans have been using clothing for a very long time and skin tone isn’t a very limiting factor, to say the least. I would say it isn’t completely understood why humans have skin tone variation. However, they do, and skin tone is almost entirely determined by melanin expression.

Oops -

I should add, it’s generally accepted that lighter skinned people evolved from darker skinned African ancestors. That’s not 100% known to be the case, of course. But the alternate explanation - that darker skin emerged in Africa after the population of Europe and Asia - seems less likely. (Virtually all evidence strongly shows human origins in Africa, of course.)

harold said:

dalehusband said:

That’s racism of a different color, @$$hole.

Actually, this is an example of AC saying something that is more or less technically accurate, at least according to contemporary thinking. There is nothing remotely racist about this statement in isolation. Of course, describing an entire individual as a “mutant” is poor terminology, but the term was used that way for decades in fruit fly research.

I bother to mention this because one AC sometimes has a tendency to set up his crazy claims with some accurate statements, so if we are going to bother to argue with him, we shouldn’t let him goad us into arguing with something that is more or less valid.

Another example is his frequent statements that DNA sequences (actually, coding frame sequences only) can be conceptualized as digital instructions. That is, in fact, essentially true. It’s a redundant quartenary digital code in which triplets with four elements (A, T, C, or G) code for 22 possible amino acids plus some “start” and “stop” codons. 4^3 = 64, and there are less than 30 things to “code” for, so the code is redundant. This in no, way, shape or form implies any magic, miracles, or gods, whatsoever; on the contrary, it provides a major non-magical explanation for an important aspect of life. But it is the case that saying that the genetic code is digital is a neutral, accurate statement.

Lighter skin has an association with environments where there is less UV radiation from the sun per unit time (either due to climate or choice of habitat). We do have to balance that with the observation that humans of any skin tone can live fairly easily in almost any environment. There have been rare cases of rickets in children of African descent in Scandinavia (fortunately, detected early in the modern medicine era), but for the most part, humans have been using clothing for a very long time and skin tone isn’t a very limiting factor, to say the least. I would say it isn’t completely understood why humans have skin tone variation. However, they do, and skin tone is almost entirely determined by melanin expression.

I see your point. I was objecting to the implication that either blacks or whites are superior to other races because one evolved from the other. We don’t know which came first, actually. There could have been white people in Africa first, and blacks arose from a mutation to make their skin darker. And it doesn’t matter to me; we are all human more than just skin colors.

Dale Husband -

I agree with your points about racism, of course.

As it turns out, although human skin tone is largely due to melanin expression (of course hemoglobin also plays some role, especially in very light skinned people), the fur of the arctic wolf apparently does not owe its whitish color to a lack of melanin expression per se http://ezinearticles.com/?Wolf-Anat[…]p;id=4319111. Their skin is not light.

So Joey B. was wrong about wolves. What a surprise. Ironically, his comment about humans was defensible, if oversimplified.

dalehusband said: I see your point. I was objecting to the implication that either blacks or whites are superior to other races because one evolved from the other. We don’t know which came first, actually. There could have been white people in Africa first, and blacks arose from a mutation to make their skin darker. And it doesn’t matter to me; we are all human more than just skin colors.

Well, we were all dark-eyed and dark-haired. That is for sure. There is another pigment called pheomelanin, present in the Neanderthals and orangutans - modern humans with red hair also have this pigment in abundance whilst their eumelanin production is disabled.

There is no “magic” involved in this variation, but you can’t claim that the principle behind this example can explain everything related to evolutionary biology.

Atheistoclast said:

dalehusband said: I see your point. I was objecting to the implication that either blacks or whites are superior to other races because one evolved from the other. We don’t know which came first, actually. There could have been white people in Africa first, and blacks arose from a mutation to make their skin darker. And it doesn’t matter to me; we are all human more than just skin colors.

Well, we were all dark-eyed and dark-haired. That is for sure. There is another pigment called pheomelanin, present in the Neanderthals and orangutans - modern humans with red hair also have this pigment in abundance whilst their eumelanin production is disabled.

There is no “magic” involved in this variation, but you can’t claim that the principle behind this example can explain everything related to evolutionary biology.

Nor can you claim that the secrets of the universe are all to found in ice cream. BFD.

Ban this asshat to the bathroom wall now and for good.

Well, we were all dark-eyed and dark-haired. That is for sure.

It is the most logical assumption that almost all humans were once dark haired and dark eyed, yes. These traits are found in every population and are near-universal in sub-Saharan Africa, from where all other humans migrated in the relatively recent past (by “relatively recent” I do not mean 6000 years ago).

There is another pigment called pheomelanin, present in the Neanderthals and orangutans - modern humans with red hair also have this pigment in abundance whilst their eumelanin production is disabled.

Reference for Neanderthal claim?

There is no “magic” involved in this variation, but you can’t claim that the principle behind this example can explain everything related to evolutionary biology.

It’s the opposite - the theory of evolution can explain this.

(However, human skin and hair tone variation isn’t a perfectly straightforward situation. It’s certainly true that there are very mild selective effects for and against certain skin tones in certain environments, but humans with all skin tones can live in almost all environments fairly well, and did, throughout history. Things like founder effect may play a major role.)

Over on TED, Svante Paabo has a great 15 minute talk about Neanderthal DNA and Out of Africa. Check it out.

harold said: Reference for Neanderthal claim?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]25143311.htm

it is likely that most modern redheads are the descendants of Neanderthals who interbred with humans who emigrated to Europe and Asia from Africa. It is a recessive trait, so many of us still carry it.

The point I am making is that this “diversity” is achieved by deactivating protein receptors. There is no gain of information or functionality.

it is a wolf in a nature park, in South Dakota, wolves like dogs vary a great deal in colour.

Atheistoclast said:

harold said: Reference for Neanderthal claim?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]25143311.htm

it is likely that most modern redheads are the descendants of Neanderthals who interbred with humans who emigrated to Europe and Asia from Africa. It is a recessive trait, so many of us still carry it.

The point I am making is that this “diversity” is achieved by deactivating protein receptors. There is no gain of information or functionality.

Wrong.

Ban it.

DS said:

Atheistoclast said:

harold said: Reference for Neanderthal claim?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]25143311.htm

it is likely that most modern redheads are the descendants of Neanderthals who interbred with humans who emigrated to Europe and Asia from Africa. It is a recessive trait, so many of us still carry it.

The point I am making is that this “diversity” is achieved by deactivating protein receptors. There is no gain of information or functionality.

Wrong.

Ban it.

Every example of a loss of function mutation is proof that there is no such thing as a gain of function.

Equivalent logic - “There is no such thing as an intersection with a stop sign instead of traffic lights.” “How do you know?” “Because I just saw one intersection with traffic lights.”

NOTE -

Not to imply that the statement about hair pigmentation was factually correct.

Atheistoclast said: The point I am making is that this “diversity” is achieved by deactivating protein receptors. There is no gain of information or functionality.

Thisthuisuceuapurevuhbaloneyrcgpte. Ofonuhcoursevumkdecativitationlrcgcanthukincreasessstfunctionalityfgtc.

Atheistoclast said:

There are gain-of-function mutations - some degenerative diseases like Huntington’s involve mutations that produce dangerously high toxic levels. But they are not beneficial since they decrease fitness and so don’t help Darwinism.

What yourself and DS need to appreciate is that some of the diversity of life is indeed due to the reduced expression or function of certain genes. However, this is not a valid paradigm to explain the general picture of diversity.

And if such a mutation led to the production of “dangerously high toxic levels” only on the cells of the venom glands of a snake or spider, are you proposing that any increase in fitness that this might confer is more than offset by the risk of it biting its own tongue?

Dave Lovell said:

Atheistoclast said:

There are gain-of-function mutations - some degenerative diseases like Huntington’s involve mutations that produce dangerously high toxic levels. But they are not beneficial since they decrease fitness and so don’t help Darwinism.

What yourself and DS need to appreciate is that some of the diversity of life is indeed due to the reduced expression or function of certain genes. However, this is not a valid paradigm to explain the general picture of diversity.

And if such a mutation led to the production of “dangerously high toxic levels” only on the cells of the venom glands of a snake or spider, are you proposing that any increase in fitness that this might confer is more than offset by the risk of it biting its own tongue?

Or what if the deadly by-products of the harmful mutation are only apparent after the organism has bred?

Atheistoclast said:

Well, that would depend on being able to store those toxins and use them productively to paralyze prey. Malaysian ants species can mix chemicals within its own body which could cause the ant to explode - so I don’t know how that could have evolved.

Next, this pathetic little bastard may start ranting about bombadier beetles. Yawn…

Atheistoclast said: Well, that would depend on being able to store those toxins and use them productively to paralyze prey. Malaysian ants species can mix chemicals within its own body which could cause the ant to explode - so I don’t know how that could have evolved.

Here.

That took all of 30 seconds. Yet another example of why “don’t know how…” is a bad justification for intelligent design.

eric said:

Atheistoclast said: Well, that would depend on being able to store those toxins and use them productively to paralyze prey. Malaysian ants species can mix chemicals within its own body which could cause the ant to explode - so I don’t know how that could have evolved.

Here.

That took all of 30 seconds. Yet another example of why “don’t know how…” is a bad justification for intelligent design.

Just like bees and their stings which also kill them. Natural selection doesn’t give a damn about individuals, only their genes. This is why, once most organisms have been given a chance to reproduce, they are allowed to slowly break down, a process known as aging. Evolution explains perfectly why animals are not immortal. An individual organism that lives a short time but produces more offspring will be more successful in propagating its genes than one that lives a million years but never has offspring.

The phrase “survival of the fittest” should never have been used in reference to evolution by natural selection. It’s the REPRODUCTION OF THE FIT ENOUGH that matters.

dalehusband said:

The phrase “survival of the fittest” should never have been used in reference to evolution by natural selection. It’s the REPRODUCTION OF THE FIT ENOUGH that matters.

I would also add that this is how something supposedly “irreducibly complex” (IC) formations could have arisen in organisms due to natural selection, because nature wants to conserve resources for the sake of efficiency. Micheal Behe’s using that IC idea to support Intelligent Design should have been enough to destroy his credibility forever! Behe actually stole the idea from Hermann Muller, an evolutionist! That’s FRAUD!

dalehusband said:

I would also add that this is how something supposedly “irreducibly complex” (IC) formations could have arisen in organisms due to natural selection, because nature wants to conserve resources for the sake of efficiency. Micheal Behe’s using that IC idea to support Intelligent Design should have been enough to destroy his credibility forever! Behe actually stole the idea from Hermann Muller, an evolutionist! That’s FRAUD!

Nature doesn’t “want to” do anything.

eric said:

Atheistoclast said: Well, that would depend on being able to store those toxins and use them productively to paralyze prey. Malaysian ants species can mix chemicals within its own body which could cause the ant to explode - so I don’t know how that could have evolved.

Here.

That took all of 30 seconds. Yet another example of why “don’t know how…” is a bad justification for intelligent design.

After thinking about this more, I believe atheistoclast has unconsciously stumbled upon a corrected version of Dembski’s explanatory filter. Rather than “does law explain it, does chance explain it, if not, God” the real one goes something like this:

“If no one took a spoonful of explanation, and inserted in your mouth for you, and massaged your jaw to make you chew, and your throat to make you swallow, assume design.”

That is pretty much the only explanation I have for how a supposed scientist could accept design when a 30-second, 3-word google search would reveal a natural explanation for some phenomenon. They just won’t bother thinking about any explanation other than design on their own.

Please stop feeding the Atheistoclast troll.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on September 12, 2011 12:00 PM.

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