Home » Convergent evolution, News » Neon fish evolved separately many times

Neon fish evolved separately many times

… but we need a yellow filter to see them.  At first, a researcher thought that the photographer had photoshopped the colours in as a joke. (Nope. See the first vid.)

From Nature:

More than 180 species of fish, from at least 50 taxonomic families, can absorb light and re-emit it as a different color, researchers report today in PLoS ONE1. Caught by cameras fitted with yellow-colored filters, fish such as the flathead (Cociella hutchinsi), found in the tropical Pacific Ocean, become show stoppers.

The researchers found biofluorescence in both cartilaginous fish, such as sharks and rays, and bony fish, such as eels and flatfishes. That the phenomenon appears in groups separated by more than 400 million years of divergent evolution suggests that it evolved independently many times, Sparks says. Biofluorescence — which is distinct from bioluminescence, the production of light by a living organism through a chemical reaction — is also seen among some corals, cnidarians, arthropods and parrots.

Profile photo for this staff member Someone copy Simon Conway Morris, Cambridge convergent evolution champ, on this. See also: “Fossil evidence demands a radical rewriting of evolution.”:

Remember, this guy isn’t poison yet because he doesn’t agree that there is evidence for design in nature. But he says,

The idea is this: that convergence – the tendency of very different organisms to evolve similar solutions to biological problems – is not just part of evolution, but a driving force. To say this is an unconventional view would be something of an understatement. To start with an example of convergence (itself an astonishing phenomenon), take the “camera eye” – an eye comprising a lens suspended between two fluid-filled chambers, and the kind of eye which you are using to read this feature.

“If you go to the octopus and, if you’re not too squeamish, dissect it, you’ll find that it has a camera eye which is remarkably similar to our own,” says Conway Morris. “And yet we know that the octopus belongs to an invertebrate group called the cephalopod molluscs, evolutionarily very distant indeed from the chordates to which we belong.

See also: Convergent evolution seen in hundred of genes.

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5 Responses to Neon fish evolved separately many times

  1. What Dr. Louis says makes a lot of sense . . . except we haven’t found a driving force that generates new and complex structures. In other words, there might be 18 routes up Mt. Everest, but regardless of the route, it would be fatal for 100% of all elephants trying to make the climb.

    This is not to say that we won’t find such a force, but I believe that mutation is not it.

    - Maybe we’ll discover some amazing epigenetic interaction that generates new DNA

    - Maybe there’s a viral vector for large-scale DNA transfer

    - Maybe bacteria have the power to evolve us as a a sort of biological exo-suit (considering the how fast bacteria reproduce).

    - Maybe we were seeded from somewhere.

    - Maybe we were designed.

    - Or maybe there’s some combination of things.

    -Q

  2. That video is just so cool!

    “I ain’t got enough faith to be an atheist!”
    Frank Turek

  3. To me, it just speaks of the amazing creativity of God. One of my most memorable experiences was in an intersession class in college called “Weeds and Wild Things.”

    We used binocular dissection microscopes to key the tiniest flowers (this was in January, after all). I remember vividly Stellaria media. Under magnification, its petals looked like sparkling frosted sugar, the stamen were like clear glass rods, the anthers were pocked like a golf ball and deep crimson. I watched as one of them broke open spilling out transparent golden balls, the pollen. And crowning the pistil was the corona, like a clear glass coronet fit for a tiny princess.

    My thought at the time was, “Who would care?” Left to me, the flower would be generic and boring—after all it’s considered a common weed eaten by chickens and you’d step on it without ever knowing.

    And then, eek! I almost jumped out of my lab chair when a thrip poked his funny monster face around a petal!

    -Q

  4. Its unlikely these details ALIKE evolved in these different critters.
    Its more likely, and demanding, that there is a common blueprint for biology and biology’s ability to adapt to needs. Just like what I, or a creator, would do if biology was to be as structured as physics or anything.
    The more they look the more unlikely convergent evolution is good enough to explain like results in unlike creatures.

  5. Robert Byers noted

    Its unlikely these details ALIKE evolved in these different critters.

    From unbiased observation, it’s more like various characteristics were assembled, as a jeweler would assemble a colorful necklace. For example, I understand that both the morphology and the Frankenstein-like genome of the duckbill platypus is an extreme case.

    -Q

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