Another awesome tee-shirt

October 15, 2011 • 10:26 am

Today we have a second installment for Caturday—a great new tee-shirt featuring kittehs and science. It’s designed by Richard Smith, who produced two other shirts I’ve featured before.

You can buy “Science kitteh” here for only $20.44. Be sure to check out the title of the peer-reviewed paper.

If you’re myopic or presbyopic, the title is “Genetics and speciation”:  the shirt was designed in my honor.  Buy it NOW!

Thanks, Richard!

19 thoughts on “Another awesome tee-shirt

  1. I watched a Youtube of R. Dawkins outlining one of the chapters in his new book in which he pointed out that each immediate son/daughter of a pair of parents will, without question, be a member of the same species as the parents.

    So how do we get different species — do I have to read your WHOLE(!) book to find out?

    (I was a physics/meteorology major.)

    1. You’re mixing up individual level with population level. Speciation and evolution are population phenomena. I haven’t read Coyne’s book, but I believe any book about evolution will explain this difference nicely.

      You are thinking about one parent and one child. You can conceptualize that by simply drawing horizontal lines, one above the other. If you keep drawing lines, only one at a time and making sure each line overlaps with the one immediately above (the overlapping would mean they belong to the same species), then you’ll find you can’t get two species. Here. You can have each line shifted to the sides, which would mean variation inside the species. You could even find the last line you draw doesn’t overlap with the first; it would be an example of what’s called anagenesis.

      However, if now you consider each line to be not an individual but different moments in time of a population (let’s say each line is 100 years later, and the lenght of the line would represent its amount of genetic diversity), you can see it’s very easy to divide a population. That’s what happened to Darwin’s finches; they went to live to different islands, and each group lost contact with their fellows on other islands (but that’s only one of many possible causes that can divide a population). So now you need at least two colors for the lines, since we’re considering two different groups. And then this can happen.

      As long as everyone in the population is breeding among themselves, there can’t be much divergence because they balance each other. The red ones keep breeding with the blue ones, so you can’t really have red and blue, just some sort of brown who maybe gets somewhat reddish or bluish from time to time. Once you have isolated groups, those groups can diverge in different vectors, to the point of being so different they can’t breed with the folks on the other group anymore.

    2. The process of evolution doesn’t give a christian god’s nails about no stinking species. Species is a human construct to aid in pointing to a specific part in the mesh of organisms.

      Now go get your big box of crayons. No! Not the little 512 crayon box, get the 64,000,000 crayon box. Yes that’s the one. Dump all the crayons out of the box, yes, even that ugly god colored one, and mix them around. Now sort each crayon into either a red, green, or blue group. Don’t make any mistakes for that will cause the christian to claim its god created the colors as you weren’t able to complete the task with precision. When finished, you should have an idea of what a species is if you imagine each colored wax stick to be a crayola offspring and also a potential dividing line for the red, green, or blue species.

      Have fun and don’t forget to bray about it.

  2. Being well read is sexy so you’ll help your genes to jump upstream if you crack a few books & feed your brain! You’ll be getting laid, having fun at parties, perpetuating your little DNA robots & supporting Jerry Coyne’s boot addiction ~ that’s a win win win

    The definition of species is fuzzy. A group of animals may all be capable of interbreeding & producing viable offspring that are fertile & yet that group could consist of more than one species.

    Here’s an educational thread from over at the RDF How to refute creationist nonsense on transitional species by SCHRODINGER’S CAT. Plenty of grist in there.

    Here’s Gaps in the Mind by Richard Dawkins

    The discontinuous mind is ubiquitous. It is especially influential when it afflicts lawyers and the religious (not only are all judges lawyers; a high proportion of politicians are too, and all politicians have to woo the religious vote). Recently, after giving a public lecture, I was cross-examined by a lawyer in the audience. He brought the full weight of his legal acumen to bear on a nice point of evolution. If species A evolves into a later species B, he reasoned closely, there must come a point when a mother belongs to the old species A and her child belongs to the new species B. Members of different species cannot interbreed with one another. I put it to you, he went on, that a child could hardly be so different from its parents that it could not interbreed with their kind. So, he wound up triumphantly, isn’t this a fatal flaw in the theory of evolution?

    But it is we that choose to divide animals up into discontinuous species. On the evolutionary view of life there must have been intermediates, even though, conveniently for our naming rituals, they are usually extinct: usually, but not always. The lawyer would be surprised and, I hope, intrigued by so-called ‘ring species’. The best-known case is herring gull versus lesser black-backed gull. In Britain these are clearly distinct species, quite different in colour. Anybody can tell them apart. But if you follow the population of herring gulls westward round the North Pole to North America, then via Alaska across Siberia and back to Europe again, you will notice a curious fact. The ‘herring gulls’ gradually become less and less like herring gulls and more and more like lesser black-backed gulls until it turns out that our European lesser black-backed gulls actually are the other end of a ring that started out as herring gulls. At every stage around the ring, the birds are sufficiently similar to their neighbours to interbreed with them. Until, that is, the ends of the continuum are reached, in Europe. At this point the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull never interbreed, although they are linked by a continuous series of interbreeding colleagues all the way round the world. The only thing that is special about ring species like these gulls is that the intermediates are still alive. All pairs of related species are potentially ring species. The intermediates must have lived once. It is just that in most cases they are now dead.

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