29 - 29 evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case...

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29+ evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case for Common Descent A nested hierarchy of species As seen from the phylogeny in Figure 1 , the predicted pattern of organisms at any given point in time can be described as "groups within groups", otherwise known as a nested hierarchy . The only known processes that specifically generate unique, nested, hierarchical patterns are branching evolutionary processes. Common descent is a genetic process in which the state of the present generation/individual is dependent only upon genetic changes that have occurred since the most recent ancestral population/individual. Therefore, gradual evolution from common ancestors must conform to the mathematics of Markov processes and Markov chains . Using Markovian mathematics, it can be rigorously proven that branching Markovian replicating systems produce nested hierarchies (Givnish and Sytsma 1997 ; Harris 1989 ; Norris 1997 ). For these reasons, biologists routinely use branching Markov chains to effectively model evolutionary processes, including complex genetic processes, the temporal distributions of surnames in populations (Galton and Watson 1874 ), and the behavior of pathogens in epidemics. The nested hierarchical organization of species contrasts sharply with other possible biological patterns, such as the continuum of "the great chain of being" and the continuums predicted by Lamarck's theory of organic progression (Darwin 1872 , pp. 552-553 ; Futuyma 1998 , pp. 88-92). Mere similarity between organisms is not enough to support macroevolution; the nested classification pattern produced by a branching evolutionary process, such as common descent, is much more specific than simple similarity. Real world examples that cannot be objectively classified in nested hierarchies are the elementary particles (which are described by quantum chromodynamics), the elements (whose organization is described by quantum mechanics and
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course BIO BSC1010 taught by Professor Gwenhauner during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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29 - 29 evidences for Macroevolution The Scientific Case...

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