Predation, chemical cues, and natural selection

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: November 19, 2013

Introduction: If you enjoyed the stories about
1) predatory birds that caused natural selection in moths, and
2) the neurobiology of how predatory snakes caused evolution of our visual acuity and specificity,
you will almost certainly enjoy this article on predation-driven evolution, which links invertebrates to vertebrates via the theory of natural selection.
See: Modality matters for the expression of inducible defenses: introducing a concept of predator modality Herzog Q, Laforsch C.  BMC Biology 2013, 11 :113 (18 November 2013)
Excerpt: “Regarding the adaptive value of these differing traits, the morphs exposed to chemical cues released by Triops had a clear disadvantage under predation by Notonecta compared to the morphs exposed to Notonecta cues.”
My comment: It is rare to see chemical cues mentioned in stories about predation-driven natural selection. In the article linked above, the consideration of chemical cues conflicts with attempts to remove the laws of physics from mutation-initiated gene expression and natural selection. Recently, some focus has turned to mutation-driven evolution that “just happens” sans natural selection.
Others maintain that as random mutations arise, complexity emerges as a side effect, even without natural selection to help it along. Complexity, they say, is not purely the result of millions of years of fine-tuning through natural selection—the process that Richard Dawkins famously dubbed “the blind watchmaker.” To some extent, it just happens.
This quote may be the clearest representation we will see come from evolutionary theorists. Organismal complexity “just happens.” When I learned about that, I commented to the Scientific American on the article by Carl Zimmer: “The Surprising Origins of Evolutionary Complexity.”  I wrote:
“Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ are nutrient-dependent. Nutrients metabolize to species specific pheromones that control reproduction in species from microbes to man via the same molecular mechanisms.
The epigenetic effects of food odors associated with nutrition and pheromones associated with socialization and with sexual reproduction are clearly responsible for linking the sensory environment directly to adaptive evolution sans consideration of mutation-driven evolution.
See for details: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2013, 3: 20553 –
The model includes examples of how a change in a single base pair results in an amino acid substitution that clearly links adaptive evolution, which has occurred during the past ~30,000 years in a human population in what is now central China, to the same molecular mechanisms in mice, other mammals, insects, nematodes, and microbes.”
Jeffrey Tomkins (Ph.D.) has since published a concise, somewhat easy to understand, 1-page review: “Explaining Organismal Complexity with Non-Coding DNA.” Jon Lieff (M.D.)  provides more technical details in Alternative RNA Splicing in Evolution. Clearly, even atheists who hate any explanation that hints at what they label “Creationism,” are being left with limited explanations of cause and effect in the context of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled alternative splicings, which we first mentioned in the section on molecular epigenetics in our 1996 Hormones and behavior review article: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior: 
“Small intranuclear proteins also participate in generating alternative splicing techniques of pre-mRNA…”
The concept of alternative splicings in sex differences and species differences can now be compared to evolved differences that might be due to predation in invertebrates (e.g., in moths) and vertebrates (e.g., by snakes). The explanatory power of predation-driven natural selection could be compared to what is known about the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction.
In this blog post, you already have the basis for such a comparison. Data from from experiments that appear to show that evolution is mutation-initiated; driven by natural selection; or that it simply “just happens,” can be compared to results from experiments on model organisms that clearly show adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in species from microbes to man.   But who will make the comparisons between theory and biological facts?
On 7/25/13, Jay R. Feierman wrote: It is very sad for me to see that when several different people on this group, all with doctorate degrees, tell you that you are not correct, you don’t consider that they might be telling you something helpful. Instead, you respond with arrogance and ignorance.
Note: Jeffrey Tomkins, Jon Lieff, and Milton Diamond (who coauthored our 1996 review) have doctoral degrees.
On August 14, 2013, comments from Jay R. Feierman, the ISHE yahoo group moderator,  changed from his oft-repeated regurgitation of  the scientifically unsupported opinion: “Random mutations are the substrates upon which directional natural selection acts.” The change was to to “mutations are A substrate upon which natural selection acts.” This change was in a response to a complaint about my “inane creationist views on evolution“. That complaint was directed against me by Clarence ‘Sonny’ Williams, who also wrote: “One of the most egregiously incorrect statements that Mr. Kohl consistently repeats is that all life shares the same molecular processes.  That is absurd.”  I am not complaining about the absurdity of  people with doctoral degrees and sexagenarian college students, like Williams, regardless of what claims they make. I ask only that they support their claims with experimental evidence that includes biological facts. Is that too much to ask?

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Want more on the same topic?

Swipe/Drag Left and Right To Browse Related Posts: