I had recently been asked to comment on a dialogue between two evolutionary biologists as they debated the role of natural selection in evolution. Both assumed that that there was no valid alternative. Neither seemed to grasp that there are actually are two differing conditions in which its influence might be fully evaluated. Any assessment of the importance of natural selection must take into account both of these separable components.
Are you smarter than a reptile? In many respects, you certainly are. After all, no reptile is going to read this article. However, our clearly superior intellectual abilities for certain skills has seduced us towards a dismissive attitude towards the surprisingly deep and broad range of analytical gifts of our companion creatures. A growing body of research now indicates that other animals of all sizes and varieties are highly intelligent problem solvers within their own realms.
Our traditional view of viruses has been narrowly perceived to that their sole role is as organic aggressors. Certainly, their visible effect upon our human history, at least until now, has only been understood as the source of myriad scourges throughout human history. Viral epidemics have accounted for an enormous number of deaths including measles, smallpox, chickenpox, influenza, dengue, and, more recently, AIDS and Ebola. However, recent studies have expanded our understanding of other consequential effects that viruses have on us as humans.
Outbreak Of Ebola Will Not Be The Last Global Epidemic, Time To Hit The Reset Button On How We Treat It
Ebola will not be the last global epidemic. It is, however, the first to spread as we hop on planes, rely on oil and chocolate from far flung locales and blindly lean on modern medicine’s ability to control and kill the very pathogens that live among us. Now is the time to hit the reset button on our approach to viral outbreaks. While it’s taken health agencies, drug makers and the public-at-large time to wake up to the current spread of the deadly virus in Africa, there’s no time like the present to prepare for the next outbreak.
What produces biological complexity, novelty or impels the origin of species? When examined through all available contemporary evidence, the expression of novel phenotype and metabolic function emerges from processes other than natural selection and fitness as they have been traditionally assessed. To best understand this issue, it is useful to closely consider a facet that is often overlooked in general discussions of evolutionary development.