By Franz M. Wuketits, Francisco J. Ayala, Franz M. Wuketits, Francisco J. Ayala
"I have had hassle explaining the adaptation among organic anthropology and actual anthropology to my colleagues and scholars. This ebook will make it easier." --Wenda Trevathan, Ph.D., New Mexico country college
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Additional resources for Human Biology: An Evolutionary and Biocultural Perspective
Rates of evolutionary change can therefore be more precisely established with respect to DNA or proteins than with respect to morphological traits. Studies of molecular evolution rates have led to the proposition that macromolecules evolve as fairly accurate ‘clocks’. If the rate of evolution of a protein or gene were approximately the same in the evolutionary lineages leading to different species, proteins and DNA sequences would provide a molecular clock of evolution. 2 Evolutionary tree of 20 diverse organisms, ranging from the human, through the horse, chicken, and snake, to moth and yeast.
If one wants to put things down to other random factors, then this is a kind of negative argument that leads to no new research hypotheses. Talking of constraints or drift is simply not very helpful. There is an asymmetry here between selection and its rivals. However, this is not to deny that – taken over long periods of time, when one starts to look at macro events rather than micro events – one might see certain patterns emerging that were not directly fueled by natural selection, patterns that reflect other factors or constraints on the course of evolution.
One conspicuous attribute of molecular evolution is that differences between homologous molecules can readily be quantified and expressed as, for example, proportions of nucleotides or amino acids that have changed. Rates of evolutionary change can therefore be more precisely established with respect to DNA or proteins than with respect to morphological traits. Studies of molecular evolution rates have led to the proposition that macromolecules evolve as fairly accurate ‘clocks’. If the rate of evolution of a protein or gene were approximately the same in the evolutionary lineages leading to different species, proteins and DNA sequences would provide a molecular clock of evolution.