Thursday, May 21, 2009

Primate Eye Evolution

Silver Scorpio has an article on research involving the primate eye and its evolution. They write:
Researchers comparing the fetal development of the eye of the owl monkey with that of the capuchin monkey have found that only a minor difference in the timing of cell proliferation can explain the multiple anatomical differences in the two kinds of eyes.

The findings help scientists understand how a structure as complex as the eye could change gradually through evolution, yet remain functional.

The findings also offer a lesson in how seemingly simple genetic changes in the brain and nervous system could produce the multiple evolutionary changes seen in more advanced brains, without compromising function.

Analysis for this study was performed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the US.

Eye evolution has always been a hot topic for ID supporters and creationists because it is thought that there is no way compound eyes could have evolved (despite the fact that humans have one of a large number of different kinds of compound eye forms). This is at the heart of evo-devo, the idea that subtle changes in certain genes that are found throughout nature can result in large changes in phenotypic expression.

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