Evolution: Can a species regress to having physical traits/features that is once had?
our brain can send orders to mutate our dna? Is that common knowledge or what? never heard that before but I don't study this stuff
- Tom SLv 74 months ago
Yes, look at cetaceans, mammals evolved from fish, now cetaceans have physical traits/features which resemble fish.
- RayLv 64 months ago
It can theoretically happen but rarely if ever, I will explain why.
First, animals regaining ancient features is not regression but rather progression into a previous direction. However, the issue with this is in how evolution works. Animals fill available niches dictated by environment. Most evolution occurs after extinctions. When the dinosaurs died, some rats grew and filled some niches left by dinosaurs, so big herbivores evolved, big carnivores, etc. The issue here is that rats did not die out or leave their niche. If another extinction causes food shortages, big herbivores/carnivores can not get small enough to compete with rats, because rats are still here filling that niche and they are highly specialized in it, so big carnivores/herbivores would be outcompeted by rats. If rats were not here maybe natural selection would give small coyotes an advantage, so over time they would get smaller and more generalist in their diet, but rats are here and they would eat all the small food, not leaving enough for the small coyotes which are still a lot bigger and a lot less specialized in this niche then rats.
However, after the extinction rats will be the only survivors and will evolve again to fill big carnivore/herbivore niches, mammalian biomechanics and biology may lead to similar features.
This is why some animals from the paleogene look like animals from the neogene. Extinction event led to small mammals having to refill the same niches, so many of the same body plans re-appear even though the animals were not related.
- oikoσLv 74 months ago
Theoretically, yes. Practically, no. Google Dollo's Law of the Irreversibility of Evolution.
- busterwasmycatLv 74 months ago
brains cannot send signals to mutate, as far as I know. It is possible for selection to re-favor what were once traits as long as the genes for those traits are still present but not typically manifested. Otherwise, the physical traits would have to be redeveloped, which happens sometimes. Like fins on whales. they are not a return to original fish fins.
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- daniel gLv 74 months ago
It is possible, sure. this is all about adapting in manner that offers best chance for survival. Some life hardly changes over millions of years, it doesn't need to.
Other life has mutated in a matter of hours or days.
- JazSincLv 74 months ago
Sure. Just 'cause I can't think of any examples doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
Another possibility is "new features that look a lot like ancestral features."
The ichthyosaurs and whales evolved "fins" that resembled the lobe fins their distant fish ancestors had.
- skeptikLv 74 months ago
Provided that it still possesses the genes for the archaic features, but they're "turned off."
- Anonymous4 months ago
Yes, but it will obviously take hundreds of thousands to millions of years. We lost our tails because the tail no longer served a purpose as we began to walk upright. If humans began to walk on all fours, over time the body would redevelop more primitive features ideal for walking on all fours.
The brain is a mysterious thing and it holds the ability to send orders to mutate your dna. But to do so it requires time to complete the process.
- PetterLv 74 months ago
Yes, of course. If environmental changes makes it (once again) beneficial.