Evolution, Darwin, Wallace and Patrick Matthew


This video says about itself:

Forsdyke Evolution Academy 01-14 Patrick Matthew

12 October 2011

The second of a series of 12 videos on natural selection from a historical perspective.

From King’s College London in England:

April 20, 2015

The overlooked third man

The horticulturist who came up with the concept of ‘evolution by natural selection‘ 27 years before Charles Darwin did should be more widely acknowledged for his contribution, states a new paper by a King’s College London geneticist.

The paper, published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, argues that Patrick Matthew deserves to be considered alongside Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace as one of the three originators of the idea of large-scale evolution by .

Furthermore, Matthew’s version of evolution by natural section captures a valuable aspect of the theory that isn’t so clear in Darwin‘s version – namely, that natural selection is a deductive certainty more akin to a ‘law’ than a hypothesis or theory to be tested.

Patrick Matthew (1790-1874) was a Scottish landowner with a keen interest in politics and agronomy. He established extensive orchards of apples and pears on his estate at Gourdie Hill, Perthshire, and became adept in horticulture, silviculture and agriculture.

Whilst Darwin and Wallace‘s 1858 paper to the Linnean Society, On the Origin of Species, secured their place in the history books, Matthew had set out similar ideas 27 years earlier in his book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture. The book, published in 1831, addressed best practices for the cultivation of trees for shipbuilding, but also expanded on his concept of natural selection.

“There is a law universal in nature, tending to render every reproductive being the best possibly suited to its condition that its kind, or that organized matter, is susceptible of, which appears intended to model the physical and mental or instinctive powers, to their highest perfection, and to continue them so. This law sustains the lion in his strength, the hare in her swiftness, and the fox in his wiles.” (Matthew, 1831: 364)

In 1860, Matthew wrote to point out the parallels with his prior work, several months after the publication of On the origin of species. Darwin publically wrote in 1860 “I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the origin of species”, while Wallace wrote publically in 1879 of “how fully and clearly Mr. Matthew apprehended the theory of natural selection, as well as the existence of more obscure laws of evolution, many years in advance of Mr. Darwin and myself”, and further declared Matthew to be “one of the most original thinkers of the first half of the 19th century”. However, both asserted their formulations were independent of Matthew’s.

Even if Matthew did not influence Darwin and Wallace, his writings provide a valuable third point of reference on the notion of macroevolution by natural selection, argues the paper’s author, Dr Michael Weale. Dr Weale has created a public website to act as an online repository of the writings by Patrick Matthew, including some of his lesser-known work.

Dr Michael Weale, from the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at King’s College London, said: ‘Whilst Darwin and Wallace both deserve recognition for their work, Matthew, the outsider who deduced his idea as part of a grand scheme of a purposeful universe, is the overlooked third man in the story. Matthew’s story is an object lesson in the perils of low-impact publishing. Despite its brevity, and to some extent because of it, Matthew’s work merits our renewed attention.’

Explore further: Darwin’s finches highlight the unity of all life

More information: ‘Patrick Matthew’s Law of Natural Selection’ by Michael Weale is published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society and can be accessed here.

From Wikipedia:

Matthew’s idea on society were radical for their times. Although he was a landowner, he was involved with the Chartist movement, and argued that institutions of “hereditary nobility” were detrimental to society. It has been suggested that these views worked against acceptance of his theory of natural selection, being politically incorrect at the time (see Barker, 2001).

‘Kermit-like’ frog discovery in Costa Rica


This video from the USA says about itself:

Newfound species of frog has eyes like Kermit

20 April 2015

The frog, found in Costa Rica, has translucent skin and eyes that many people say resemble those of the world’s most famous frog.

From Discovery.com:

Real-Life Kermit the Frog Found in Costa Rica

04/20/15

Wildlife researcher Brian Kubicki has identified a new species of glass frog that bears a striking resemblance to everyone’s favorite childhood frog. Discovered in Costa Rica, Hyalinobatrachium dianae is easily identifiable by its lime green flesh, translucent underside and large, Kermit-like eyes.

H. dianae was discovered in the Talamanca mountains; it is the first new species of glass frog to be discovered in Costa Rica in over 40 years. Kubicki posits that the frog remained hidden from researchers for so long thanks to its mating call, which more closely resembles that of insects than frogs.

No word yet if there is a Miss Piggy look-alike pig also residing in the same jungle.

Click here for more information from The Tico Times.

Miss Piggy-like pigs are not in jungles in Costa Rica, as far as I know. Collared peccaries, related to pigs, do live there.

The scientific description of the new frog species is here.

Gibraltar bird migration update


This video about a booted eagle says about itself:

Wild Gibraltar Part 4

8 November 2013

The final instalment of Wild Gibraltar featuring a truly unique spectacle – a bird camera.

Cameras are mounted to the back of birds of prey as they soar over Gibraltar for a genuine ‘birds’ eye’ view.

From the debbiejay Twitter account today:

1/2 8 Griffon Vulture, 15 Bee-eaters, Booted Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Bonelli’s Warbler #gibraltarbirding

and also:

2/2 Pied & Collar[e]d Flycatcher, Woodchat Shrike, Pallid Swifts, Nightingales, Crested Tits, Purple Swamp Hen, Spotless Starlings #gibraltarbirding

Wood ducks visit Texas barn owls


This video from the USA says about itself:

Early in the morning of April 20, 2015, a pair of Wood Ducks investigated the Texas Barn Owls‘ box. The female owl responded with a series of aggressive reactions that resulted in the ducks departing.

New lizard species discovery in India


Hyderabad-based herpetologist Aditya Srinivasulu found called Cnemaspis adii, a new species of gecko, in the ruins of Hampi in Karnataka in India

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of gecko lizard found at Indian World Heritage Site

A new type of gecko, a lizard found in warm climates, has been identified having been found in the ruins of Hampi, the World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India, reports The Hindu.

The lizard has been named Cnemaspis adii after Aditya Srinivasulu, a young herpetology researcher from Hyderabad who was involved in the discovery.

The animal belongs to the family of day geckos which are distinguished by the round pupils in their eyes which differ from the vertical pupils found in more common geckos.

Zoologists have identified the area around Hampi as having great potential for a rich biodiversity and more new species of smaller vertebrate and invertebrates.

“The discovery is significant because other species of day geckos have been, so far, reported only from the Western Ghats and southern Eastern Ghats in peninsular India,” says lead author Dr Chelmala Srinivasulu.

“This is the first time that day geckos have been found in the central regions of peninsular India between Eastern and Western Ghats.”

Dr Srinivasulu, along with G Chethan Kumar and Bhargavi Srinivasulu, all from the zoology wing of Osmania University in Hyderabad, published their findings in the journal Zootaxa.

This new day gecko species was first discovered by Dr Bhargavi Srinivasulu in 2012 while doing research on bats in the Hampi complex.

This latest team of zoologists studied photographs of live animals and researched on known species of day geckos reported from other parts of India. It is this work that has led to the current confirmation of the new species.

Cuckoos in nests help carrion crows


This video says about itself:

Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)

There were 5 birds together at Anarita Park, Cyprus, on 18th March 2015. Filmed with a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS hand held.

For information about the status and distribution of this species, see the following link.

From Wildlife Extra:

Carrion Crows in Spain thrive when they have a cuckoo in the nest

Carrion Crow chicks derive benefits from having to share their nest, researchers have found

A study in Spain has uncovered an interesting relationship between Carrion Crows and Great Spotted Cuckoos, reports Springer’s journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

When the cuckoos lay up to three eggs in the nests of the larger crows, the chicks of both species are often raised together successfully, with the young crows ultimately growing bigger than the cuckoos.

So it’s not so bad for crow chicks as it can be for other species of birds who find their nests taken over by a cuckoo youngster.

When our Common Cuckoos utilise the nests of Reed Warblers, the growing cuckoo chick will push other eggs and chicks out of the nest.

When Great Spotted Cuckoos parasitise and take over Magpie nests, they do not evict the host’s young from the nest. They do, however, succeed in out-competing the magpie chicks for food, which often leads to the latter’s death.

Carrion Crow chicks, by contrast, sit back and wait for food to arrive while the cuckoo chick does all the begging, discovered Diana Bolopo of the University of Valladolid in Spain, who led a study into the pros and cons associated with this particular parasitic relationship.

Bolopo’s team filmed seven parasitised crow nests and six uninvaded ones in Northern Spain from the 2004 to the 2007 breeding seasons.

They observed how intensely the various chicks begged for food, and how adult Carrion Crows responded to these hunger cries when deciding which chick to feed first.

The sampled parasitised nests contained between one to five crow chicks, as well as one cuckoo chick.

The observations revealed that the cuckoo chicks raised alongside the crow chicks were not able to monopolise the food being brought to the nest.

It appears that crow caregivers prefer to feed crow nestlings rather than cuckoo nestlings.

The fact that cuckoo chicks begged more intensely than crow chicks balanced matters out so that the young ones of each species ultimately received an equal amount of food.

“Despite a higher begging intensity, Great Spotted Cuckoos do not out-compete bigger Carrion Crow nestlings,” says Bolopo.

She speculates that the cuckoo’s begging strategies are part of how it has evolved and adapted to a parasitic life in which it has to compete with either similar or larger-sized nest mates.

“It might actually be advantageous to crow chicks to share the nest with a cuckoo, because the crow chicks do not have to waste so much energy on begging intensely for food on their own.”