Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Has evolution actually been observed?

  1. Jan 31, 2010 #1
    I know that it has been 'proven', but my question is, has it actually been observed by somebody? Yes, we can see the similarities between different subspecies and species but that alone is not proof that they evolved from each other. Has anyone actually seen it happen?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2010 #2
    I'm sure you your self have witnessed evolution. Do you get the flu shot?
     
  4. Jan 31, 2010 #3

    CRGreathouse

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Sure, it happens all the time with microorganisms. It's even been observed in animals (fruit flies).
     
  5. Jan 31, 2010 #4
    What abouuuut http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution" [Broken].

    There are PLENTY of instances where evolution has been observed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Jan 31, 2010 #5
    Good answers guys but it was my fault because I was unclear on what I was talking about. I meant the theory of evolution, as proposed by Charles Darwin, from one species to another, a macro change in the organism that makes it a whole new species or subspecies. Has it been observed?

    Didn't Darwin say that all life forms that existed in his present time all came from germ cells many years ago?
     
  7. Jan 31, 2010 #6

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Can all breeds of dog successfully breed with wolves?
     
  8. Jan 31, 2010 #7
    Not sure. I don't think it could happen physically. I think some dogs are to small to have sexual intercourse with wolves. I think it could happen unnaturally though, maybe. You know, artificial insemination. If you know the answer, go ahead and answer it for me, because I am stumped.
     
  9. Feb 1, 2010 #8

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    What do you mean by "observed"? Do you mean observed on a human timescale?

    If that's what you mean, the answer is probably difficult, but if that's what you mean, why would you put such a constraint on evolution? That constraint is simply inappropriate and unnecessary in science. There are plenty of phenomena that we observe in science that are too fast (time dilation - nanosecond accuracy required), too slow (most of geology/astronomy), too small (cellular biology, materials science), too dim (astronomy), in the wrong frequency of light (astronomy, radio communications), etc. for us to observe in human timescales/with human sensory organs. Science long ago started to progress beyond what humans could discover with our senses - centuries ago.
     
  10. Feb 1, 2010 #9

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The ability to breed, as far as evolution is concerned, has nothing to do with penis size. Dogs and wolves are different species because the dna itself is incompatible. Dog sperm cannot inseminate a wolf (and vice versa). That's the definition of speciation.

    Just so we're clear about what the others were getting at, dogs evolved from wolves over the past few thousand years because humans bred them in a way (domesticated, isolated) that caused the species to separate.
     
  11. Feb 1, 2010 #10
    So are you implying that even though something cannot be sensed with at least one of the five senses that it shouldn't be disregarded as false?

    All I am wanting to know is if people have actually seen evolution take place. Not simple evolution, but evolution that many scientists accept today? Once again the theory of evolution has not been around for that long in comparison to how long humans have been here. Maybe in the future there will be tons of pictures of past organisms so that the people of the future can actually see how the organisms changed instead of having to guess (educated guess) by what they see with fossils
     
  12. Feb 1, 2010 #11
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfdog

    What about these?
     
  13. Feb 1, 2010 #12
    Not entirely correct. Hybrids between various speicies do occur frequently for many animals. So interbreeding isn't a defining characteristic for seperate species. However their natural tendancy to breed with similar animals is part of a characteristic.

    You see questions about 'speciation' etc. are difficult questions because the terms themselves are not exactly defined any longer (species for instance, there is a plethora of resources on what the word means and no one is exactly sure what it should include yet).

    So dogs can and do interbreed with wolves:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canid_hybrid

    EDIT: @Jerry's questions:
    "speciation" I'm quite sure has been observed. Depending on your definition of species though... you appear to be moving the goalpost. First just 'evolution' occuring then 'speciation' but not including 'sub-species'. You should post explicit definitions of the words you are using.
     
  14. Feb 1, 2010 #13
  15. Feb 1, 2010 #14

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That is exactly what I'm saying. And I took it further: as tools for scientific inquiry, our senses are woefully inadequate.
     
  16. Feb 1, 2010 #15

    CRGreathouse

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Edit: Sorry, didn't see zomgwtf's post!
    My old neighbors (before I moved) had a Siberian Husky-wolf. A Google search suggests they're pretty common.

    Domestic dogs are generally considered to be a subspecies of wolf (C. lupus familiaris and C. lupus).
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  17. Feb 1, 2010 #16

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    ....from that wiki on wolf-dog hybrids, it says the reclassification of dogs as a wolf subspecies is a relatively recent development. I was not aware of this or the hybrids. Thanks for the clarification, guys.
     
  18. Feb 1, 2010 #17
    Mules are the most common example of inter-specie breeding, and I think just about anyone seen a mule in their lifes. It has nothing to do with definition of "speciation". Horse and donkey are 2 different species, yet they can produce offspring.

    Also, physical attributes for example size has a lot to do with the ability to engage in intercourse. No intercourse, no *natural* ability to reproduce. I don't think a poor chihuahua male will ever be able to naturally have intercourse with a German Shepard female , for example. Though the opposite may be true (no ideea really :P) in some twisted situation :P
     
  19. Feb 1, 2010 #18
    What is the difference? Evolution is a process...
     
  20. Feb 1, 2010 #19
    The difference I am talking about is changes from simple organisms that we see today, to complex organisms that we see today. If evolution, as described by scientists, is only apparent millions of years ago, but not now how can it be true? I'm just wondering if evolution (macro evolution) of different species, has actually happened and been documented. We see similarities between organisms, but that does not mean that they evolved from one another.
     
  21. Feb 1, 2010 #20
    You have a gross misunderstanding of evolution it appears.

    First off get rid of this notion of evolution vs. macro evolution being different.

    Secondly get rid of the notion that evolution as described by scientist (which it is apparent you don't understand so you shouldn't talk about it anyways) is only apparent millions of years ago.

    and lastly, get rid of the idea that because organisms are similar they evolved from one another.

    It annoys me to NO END when people claim they know what's 'described by scientists' and try to contradict it using blatant misinformation.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Has evolution actually been observed?
Loading...