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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

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Jet Black

I have posted this elsewhere -

- I am not an expert in this area so I may well be way off the mark;

Particularly with reference to this line;

If FOXP2 was a solitary gene that accomplished many things at once, then a recent date would at least seem possible. But a gene that must co-evolve with many other genes is another story. All that takes time.

All the different gene changes could have a cumulative effect, with the FOXP2 gene just being the latest in a series of variations that were selected for. For example, the downstream genes may have allowed for small increases in language ability, which then would mean that changes in FOXP2 would have a much stronger positive effect. That FOXP2 is relatively unchanged for millions of years suggests that changes would have some detrimental effect in other circumstances, but it could be the presence of language ability that outweighs these other detrimental effect. If the detrimental effect is large enough, then the downstream changes would have to be in place earlier which would mean that a recent change would be more likely. This is where I think that such experiments on chimps (though of course moral questions abound) would be interesting; it would give us a chance to see what problems that FOXP2 changes cause in non-humans.
BLOGGER: There is much to praise about this comment and I thank you for it. But co-evolution poses many chicken and egg puzzles and it is going to be a while before we work them all out.

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