From: "Roy C. Lackey"
Subject: Re: (urth) Liev's Postpostulate Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 02:04:28 -0500 Jeff Wilson quoted and wrote: >> I wasn't really debating Dollo's Law but, yes, it is about function. An >> organ which loses a function never regains that function. The organism may >> develop another organ, or adapt an existing organ to compensate for the lost >> functionality of the original organ, but once an organ loses a function it >> is lost to that organ forever. The ability of a mammal to return to the sea >> and thrive there does not contravene the law. > >The mammal's return shows that the function can return, even if the >original organ does not. The dolphin's dorsal serves in place of a >fish's, even though the original bony structures are long gone. So why >can't a shapeshifting abo likewise manifest new appendages to do the >work of human hands it may have had long ago? Given time (it's been less than 200 years since the French landing), and a new need to handle tools, the abos might well evolve other means of handling them. But, in terms of evolutionary time spans, the abos haven't had time to adapt, even if they needed to. Also, there is no evidence presented in the text of abos actually being able to shapeshift. I suspect that if they really could morph into another shape that their genetic makeup would be so different from that of humans as to make interbreeding impossible. -Roy --