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    Thread: Let's discuss evolution from a scientific perspective -not for Creationist, anti-scientific argument

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      Uuii - something new!!



      I hope they will find more of these to make a genetic analysis and see, where they fit in - shame they only have old samples in formaldehyde.

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      Hi guys! Well there is some evolution science I wanted to talk about, the evolution of flowers! Something about the evolution of flowers boggles my mind.

      For one thing, how crazy is it that the male part of the flower, actually is "male" looking. Its the longer, skinnier part. Just like in animals, its the male part that contains the 1000s or millions of pollen that go into the female part (what we call sex). And the female part, just like in animals, contains the seeds, aka as eggs in animals. Same concept. These seeds, then develop in the ovary. A fruit is literally a swollen ovary - mmm! Tasty pregnant plant parts.

      Okay, so its crazy and weird how flower sex has evolved to be so animal like.

      But thats not even the craziest part. No, what's crazy is that both trees, grasses and everything else in between grow flowers that function in the same exact manner. Why is that weird? Because flowering grasses (as far as I know) did NOT evolve from flowering trees. But they both have flowers.

      Divergent evolution ftw! But this is some extremely precise divergent evolution. Im reading that the same type of genes that mutated a leaf into a flower, were used by all flowering plants. And considering that a flower functions the same on a tree as it does on a grass, doesn't that mean the mutation that occurred in the tree is the same kind of mutation that occurred in the grass?

      Doesn't this suggest that not all mutations are "random"? Maybe its random when they happen. But the result isn't so random. At least, not in flowers!

      It seems like to me, that the mutations of flowers is a potential in a certain set of genes. Billions of years from now, some other non-flowering plant can mutate those same genes and get a flower that works just like any flower today! That's pretty incredible, and I think it says a lot about evolution as a whole.

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      ^ That is mind boggling, isn't it? I think the answer is natural selection. There are many many random mutations, but only certain kinds will actually produce offspring that are fully functional and also better adapted to survive and pass on their genes, so those are the ones that flourish while the rest can't compete, and get squeezed out. So apparently those mutations that happen to take best advantage of the way nature works are the ones that flourish.

      :bender:

      I was about to post here to celebrate the news posted by Box77 on a now locked thread that England has cast out Creationism from the public schools!! So excellent!! And yet the question remains, why did it take so damn long? But at least it's finally happened - we can all breathe a bit easier and hope that America soon follows suit (though it's up against much stiffer competition here of course).

      Hip Hip HOOORAY!!!!


      :bender:
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 09-09-2014 at 12:50 AM.
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      I think you mean convergent evolution there, not divergent, Juroara but pedantry aside, that is pretty awesome stuff.
      Another rather newly discovered example is that of caffeine. After sequencing the coffee plant's genome it is now known that caffeine has been independently evolved by the coffee, tea and cocoa plants. The buzz is just that great a sell for potential pollinators such as ourselves!

      Coffee genome sheds light on the evolution of caffeine
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      Quote Originally Posted by juroara View Post
      For one thing, how crazy is it that the male part of the flower, actually is "male" looking. Its the longer, skinnier part. Just like in animals, its the male part that contains the 1000s or millions of pollen that go into the female part (what we call sex). And the female part, just like in animals, contains the seeds, aka as eggs in animals. Same concept. These seeds, then develop in the ovary. A fruit is literally a swollen ovary - mmm! Tasty pregnant plant parts.
      The anthers (the male reproductive parts of flowers) never go into the stigma/style (female reproductive parts). Pollination by other creatures (like bees) is how plants most commonly reproduce. The reason for anthers being long and skinny is probably so that they're more accessible to pollinating organisms. Also, the ovaries contain ovules which only become seeds after fertilization.

      But thats not even the craziest part. No, what's crazy is that both trees, grasses and everything else in between grow flowers that function in the same exact manner. Why is that weird? Because flowering grasses (as far as I know) did NOT evolve from flowering trees. But they both have flowers.
      Trees are gymnosperms, so they don't have flowers.

      Doesn't this suggest that not all mutations are "random"? Maybe its random when they happen. But the result isn't so random. At least, not in flowers!
      The mutation is random, but the survival of the trait isn't.
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      Quote Originally Posted by BLUELINE976 View Post
      The anthers (the male reproductive parts of flowers) never go into the stigma/style (female reproductive parts). Pollination by other creatures (like bees) is how plants most commonly reproduce. The reason for anthers being long and skinny is probably so that they're more accessible to pollinating organisms. Also, the ovaries contain ovules which only become seeds after fertilization.
      Hey, come on man! Stop crushing the fantasies of flora fetishists.
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      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BLUELINE976 View Post
      Trees are gymnosperms, so they don't have flowers.
      o_O what is that tall woody thing outside my house growing flowers?

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      Quote Originally Posted by juroara View Post
      o_O what is that tall woody thing outside my house growing flowers?
      He means flowers with the purpose of reproduction, I think. Trees bear fruit that protect their seeds and are carried around by animals, increasing the distance the seeds are spread. The tree does not rely on pollination to reproduce.
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      Quote Originally Posted by juroara View Post
      o_O what is that tall woody thing outside my house growing flowers?
      It's for sexual reproduction Ma'm. Just ignore it.

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      Excuse me blueline, but I think you are mistaking tree vs coniferophyta there?

      Trees that come from gymnosperms include conyferophyta and cycada, right? Although the latter is mostly confused with palm trees, due to their very similar outward structure. And then there are several kind of trees that come from angiosperms such as the apple tree from the rosaceae family.

      So all angiosperms have flowers, but not all trees are angiosperms. This is another thing plants do weirdly, the whole wood-structure.

      And then, mentioning flowers it is also awesome how Ephedra (From Gnetidae) is starting to grow flower-like structures much like the ones in angiosperms yet different. There is even double fertilization present in them, but the process is different too! So yes this further proves that as much as mutations occour randomly they are not chosen randomly. Guess insects now have a patent on plant evolution and flower-like things are at the top of their list... not like humans don't love ephedra obviously.
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      Yep, my mistake. Gen Bio II was a while ago and I didn't pay much attention to the botany section. I was thinking of conifers.
      Last edited by BLUELINE976; 09-09-2014 at 02:17 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by BLUELINE976 View Post
      Yep, my mistake. Gen Bio II was a while ago and I didn't pay much attention to the botany section. I was thinking of conifers.
      Recognizing own mistakes, that's an example to follow!

      I was wondering about the mechanism that works inside a seed once it gets in a proper place to start a new specimen, etc. but all I was able to find was sort of "miraculous" explanations. Does anyone know any accessible source where I could find more scientific information about the process of germination?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Box77 View Post
      Recognizing own mistakes, that's an example to follow!
      Agreed, it's a shame really that Deanstar was a troll so he was never able to do anything like that and actually earn some respect around here despite his beliefs. If he, by some stretch of the imagination, wasn't actually a troll, I think I would feel sorry for the guy. It's hard to come across people that unapologetically ignorant these days. Bah, who am I kidding? Still, it's really kind of depressing that people like him not only exist but make up the majority of the people on the planet.
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      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      Still, it's really kind of depressing that people like him not only exist but make up the majority of the people on the planet.
      I personally think that most people don't have that strong of an opinion about the origins of life in a scientific context. Only well nourished and safe people have the luxury to practice militant ignorance like Mr. Star. Your average Sub-Saharan African for example could give less than two shits. If that's what the curriculum that is going to lift them out of poverty says, they will follow it.

      Being schooled is a sign of privilege over there, no one would take it for granted like creationists do in the west.

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      There's no denying that, but they are still ignorant whether the circumstances of their ignorance are out of choice or not. Many of them would surely be just as unapologetically ignorant if given the chance to be as educated as possible. To try and remain truly open minded and willing to accept when you are wrong and learn from it is a very rare quality that many are all too happy to throw away. That, or they are simply incapable of critical thinking and not just believing that they are right and know everything after becoming a teenager (that's when children stop asking questions and believe they know everything). It's more or less human nature, it seems. If it weren't we wouldn't still be fighting wars the way we are, and we wouldn't allow big corporations to run our government and stifle human growth and progress as a society. In third world countries we wouldn't see so much poverty or children being forced to become part of the military. An overwhelming majority of people just don't want to critically analyze things and do what's smart and makes sense. Instead they'd rather fight, believe in things like ghosts and magick and psychic powers, and that dreams are different realms or dimensions or real places you go to at night, or that a man in the sky made the Earth 6000 years ago and that evolution is a fraud. It doesn't matter about your socioeconomic status or if you aren't even living in a place where economics is a thing, people are just too ready to believe out-and-out bullshit be it for confirmation bias, fear, or plain fantasy.

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      Well, you are equivocating two things there, Snoop (Lion?):
      being educated about evolution and being educated in general. You may feel that that people would "surely" chose to be ignorant over being educated but that's not what the evidence shows. Given the chance, most people will chose to be educated. Culturally, many countries highly value studiousness more than the Americans.

      There are reasons for why lay people are sceptical about evolution beyond simply ignorance and religious motivations. With a theory like Newton's laws of motion, the inferential gap between that and basic algebra is vanishingly small. As a result, most people would not go around loudly proclaiming his ideas as brainwashed babble. However, with a theory like evolution, there is a far larger inferential gap, a gap that I do not feel many scientists appreciate. To believe in it, you need to take on board several other ideas.

      You would need to know why scientists believe the earth is nearly 5 billion years old for example which would in turn require at least a basic understanding of geology and radioactivity. You would also need to understand concepts like genetics at least to a basic Mendelevium level and how traits inherit through generations. If you are more naturally critical, you would probably also require knowledge of the chemistry of life which in itself requires several inferential gaps.

      Most believers in natural selection do not in fact understand all of the above. Their knowledge is surface deep and the rest they just take on faith. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. After all, our time on earth is finite (at least until we finally crack immortality in the next 30 to 60 years) so we cannot sit down and assimilate all the information required to get from first principles to evolution.

      However, if you are from a background that has either never appreciated scientists or have a natural mistrust for them (some of which is justified in select circumstances), you are not going to do that. In order to be convinced, someone will have to begin from the very bottom and work upwards. Most people and even scientists are not qualified or interested enough in all those steps and will likely become quickly exasperated with the creationist and dismiss their doubts as simple stupidity.

      So now you have a lay person who feels his doubts marginalised. He then hears the words of some creationist who parrots back his doubts to him. He feels validated and drawn in. After all, this creationist guy seems respectable. He uses eloquent language, wears a suit and is a spiritual man. At that point, the creationist sect have a new devoted convert.

      Of course, you are absolutely correct that we have a series of naturally evolved heuristics that render us susceptible to biased thinking. However, this is not our fault and hopefully we can update our hardware in the near future to eliminate these bugs. In the meantime we can in fact overcome base human nature with sufficient diligence.

      Buddhist practices, the scientific method and the enlightenment are all totems to our fight against our own hardwired stupidity.
      Last edited by DeviantThinker; 09-09-2014 at 11:14 AM.
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      I'm interested by the fact that (speaking in broad generalities) many conservatives tend to be fundamentalist Christians, and some are Creationists, and while most liberals adhere strongly to evolution and climate change and to support science in general, many of them are into really esoteric spiritual beliefs and things like solipsism. You know, psychic powers, dreams are really other worlds we visit, that kind of stuff. Of course both groups also have plenty of level headed people free of anti-rational belief systems. Apparently libertarians tend to largely believe that there is an objective reality and that we are capable of perceiving it pretty much as it really is, with of course some wiggle room for various distortions here and there. I suspect a lot of moderates fall into that camp as well.

      This gets interesting when you add in the general types of government each group favors (again, totally broad generalities of course) - the hardcore religious fanatics tend to want fascistic governments that push traditionalism, the (radical) leftists tend to want socialism and communism (hippie communes etc) which historically always result in fascistic welfare police states based on taking from the wealthy to give to the poor. The ones who don't fall into either wing or subscribe to anti-rational belief systems tend to favor small government and freedom.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      the (radical) leftists tend to want socialism and communism (hippie communes etc) which historically always result in fascistic welfare police states based on taking from the wealthy to give to the poor. The ones who don't fall into either wing or subscribe to anti-rational belief systems tend to favor small government and freedom.
      I agree with much you say but a challenge that I have not seen libertarians answer to is the example of European countries like the Netherlands with socialist government policies yet have better individual freedoms and standards of living then pretty much the rest of the world. Also people like Glenn Beck fall under the wings of libertarianism yet to call him a rationalist would be laughable.
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      Ha!
      I'm really no fan of locked threads usually - but that one - ha!
      My fever's gone - immune system vs. bug 1:0 to me - and I'm quite happy not to be in some way feeling I needed to follow through now with my announcements and try for the umpteenth time to run with my head first against a supernaturally thick brick wall.
      That was a real wall, though, not a trollish one would be my assessment, sort of scary...

      Juroara - I read a fascinating book called "Why We Get Sick" by Randolph M. Nesse - that's about evolutionary medicine, or rather looking at human biology, psychology and pathology through an evolutionary lens. It has very interesting information, but also great educated speculations - for example on the origins of sex.

      Drawing on my "education" - if you take bacteria - some of them can also exchange genetic information, little rings of DNA called plasmids, by something called "sex-pili". Some bacteria can connect by making a little tube between them and then inject that information over to the next one - in that way they can gain for example resistance to antibiotics, which is not so nice. That's not sex, though.
      Dayam - I needed to look it up again, I'm afraid - but they go from there and then say something like that for an organism to take on genetic information is less desirable than giving it out to others and so on and so forth...
      Well - I'm still a bit deranged - that's not really going anywhere before I take up the book once more and this time with exporting quotes - soz.
      But this thread is a great motivation to actually do that, to start out with my planned system of reference keeping from books I read on Kindle...
      It doesn't explain evolution to doubters and/or the really uninformed, well a bit, but it's really more about teaching what is not so widely known, even among physicians, but it's written so that it is well understandable for non-physicians too, and making suggestions for further research to check up on tons of very reasonable speculations. I got it because Dawkins had recommended it - and it was the most thought-provoking and fascinating thing I read in a long while.

      Okay - next try - convergent evolution - the eye has evolved several times over independently on this planet, and one can be reasonably sure, that aliens in an environment with light will look back at us with some sort of eye, if we come to meet them!
      Watch this whoever fancies such things:



      It's about alien life in general - but very much about convergent evolution on our planet, like the different sorts of eyes we have here, and how one can speculate, that very similar features up to actually the same ones, construction-wise, would be selected for by means of the characteristics of the environment, which of course boils down to basic physics and chemistry, and those are the same all over our universe.
      Enjoy!



      Ah - something else - been just thinking about that alien smiley, and how it is green, and how that could be a good guess at an alien's colour, and how we even have an animal on our planet, which can actually do photosynthesis:

      http://www.dreamviews.com/science-ma...ld-elysia.html


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      ^ (@ Deviant)Remember there are a lot of people claiming to be libertarians who really aren't. Plus it's an umbrella term covering a few different positions, with some leaning right and some left (it doesn't allow for anyone who leans the way Beck does though )

      And of course the Netherlands - that's not a full-on socialist country, more of a social democracy. I've heard arguments on both sides for social democracies - usually it's the socialists who claim they're utopias, while some people say that's not even close to true. I guess it depends on who you are and what your stance on personal liberty is. Many people believe we need to give government lots of power and give up our liberties to it in order to be protected. Of course once you do that, you have no protection from the government! Give them a certain amount of power and they'll only want more, and when they have enough power, then there's nothing to stop them from suddenly just taking it all. I think it takes a certain kind of person to want that - someone who doesn't feel capable of protecting themselves, and is extremely trusting that power doesn't corrupt. I've heard that the various halfway socialisms have a way of just being temporary, and once you start down that slippery slope you'll end up full-on socialist eventually. Not sure if that's true.

      And welcome back to the land of the living Steph!! It's good to have you among us again!
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      Good to see you back, Steph! I find bacteria communities fascinating, especially the way they have their own forms of cross genetic mixing like our own sexual ones. Bacterial diversity is in the metabolism and not the shapes. I often wonder if there are selection pressures out there that could cause bacteria to evolve a collective intelligence. Not quite multicellular but rather a culture.

      I agree with you Mr Matter that pure socialism is not the way to go but I do not think libertarianism in it's purest form is a realistic form of governance either. It assumes that humans are far more trustworthy than they really are. I think there has to be some kind of societal framework to keep individuals from asserting dominance over others. The only question is what sort of framework and how much power should be given to it. There are certainly many compelling arguments for deregulation the libertarian employs such as the fact that the FDA leads to far more deaths from delayed acceptance of treatments than it saves in preventing faulty ones.

      However, this is very off-topic. I think we should have a more specialized thread for this, perhaps in the philosophy sub-forum. Sorry for this lengthy digression, Steph.
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      I don't know why every time it comes in words of philosophy I tend to 'empty' read it. Just like looking through the paper (LCD) without making any neural connection - Duh! I think I didn't learn to pay attention enough when reading something. and my language teacher thought I was the best in the class just because of I fluently read the texts!! Bad move Mrs. Hope...

      Perhaps there should be a philosophical branch called something like Monetarilism (or something like that if you get it), where the main purpose of life is getting money no matter what you think, which is how I see humans all around the world. Whatever you say or do, whatever you think, no matter where you come from, believe in god or not, you always will need money to live. Work for it, ask for it, steal it, do whatever you want to get it, but without it, you won't get too far unless you live in some isolated place on earth where it's still used sea shells to exchange your goods.

      It's a shame to see all the contradictions of people claiming one thing and doing exactly the opposite just to get their pockets charged to pay the bills. Like those punk rockers holding beers and smoking their purchased stuff singing about poverty and how unfair life is. Or all that theater apologizing for the victims of the holocaust every year as a ritual since the first German politician (sorry, I'm not good remembering names and don't find it in Google) did it back in the days when the war was over. I don't remember any Spanish king doing the same for the enormous amount of people killed when conquering the new world, not taking into account the cultural disaster that it meant for mankind! Well, perhaps it's because America (North, Center and South) was just that, the source to save their crackled economy. I think it was just a Ska-punk band who apologized for that catastrophe around 2008 in their tour around the south of that continent but I don't really know, may be I didn't read enough (or didn't pay attention to what I read ) to know there's a memorial for all the natives who lost everything, including their life... but, so is evolution, anything but fair.

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      Quote Originally Posted by DeviantThinker View Post
      I agree with you Mr Matter that pure socialism is not the way to go but I do not think libertarianism in it's purest form is a realistic form of governance either. It assumes that humans are far more trustworthy than they really are. I think there has to be some kind of societal framework to keep individuals from asserting dominance over others. The only question is what sort of framework and how much power should be given to it. There are certainly many compelling arguments for deregulation the libertarian employs such as the fact that the FDA leads to far more deaths from delayed acceptance of treatments than it saves in preventing faulty ones.

      However, this is very off-topic. I think we should have a more specialized thread for this, perhaps in the philosophy sub-forum. Sorry for this lengthy digression, Steph.
      I have no problem with my thread delving slightly off topic - I think often requiring threads to stay strictly on topic kills the organic nature of human thought and conversation, which tends to need to delve into detours in order to discuss the origins of ideas - like for instance the type of mentalities that insist on disbelieving evolution or other aspects of science.

      I don't consider myself a hard libertarian - that sounds a bit scary to me! I'm more attracted to classical liberalism, which is essentially what was laid down by the founding fathers in the constitution to begin with. Not "no government" but a small government with checks and balances to keep it from amassing too much power and from getting involved in our lives too much. Classical liberalism is one of the branches of libertarianism. And actually I would say the opposite of what you did here - "I do not think libertarianism in it's purest form is a realistic form of governance either. It assumes that humans are far more trustworthy than they really are".

      I say that allowing a government as centralized and controlling as what we have now is putting too much trust in people. In the ones in charge to be specific. Government tends toward incompetence and often to corruption, and the people who are drawn to power are often corrupt people. Government's job should be to protect our liberties, not to find ways to violate them.

      You also said - "I think there has to be some kind of societal framework to keep individuals from asserting dominance over others." Exactly. Like the kind of dominance government has assumed. How can we get them to relax their death grip on their own power? As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety".

      I should add that many of these ideas are brand new to me and the reason I bring them up in here is in hopes that I will hear from some people with different takes on it, so I can learn more. While one of my main sources claims to be libertarian, I suspect he might actually be right wing, and I'm trying to separate the two belief systems.

      But yeah, I don't mean for this to become a major part of the conversation here - just wanted to respond to that.

      Ok, I guess it's my job now to bring it back on topic…

      Steph, that is really bizarre and fascinating, an animal that does photosynthesis?? And I'm actually being completely serious - not just trying to get back on topic. That is a bit of a mind blower!! so far the most alien creatures we've discovered are those that exist deep in our own oceans. Here we are, trying to explore outer space, when we have yet to understand many aspects of our own planet!
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 09-10-2014 at 02:13 AM.
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    24. #74
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      I've just found this one recently uploaded on the web showing evolution for kids... and some grow people who don't clearly understand:

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      Found something again: Spectacular Genetic Anomaly Results in Butterflies with Male and Female Wings | Colossal
      Not exactly evolution but genetic caprice, which should fit as well:









      "In the realm of genetic anomalies found in living organisms perhaps none is more visually striking than bilateral gynandromorphism, a condition where an animal or insect contains both male and female characteristics, evenly split, right down the middle.
      This condition is rare, but not unique. It's been spotted in birds, insects and crustaceans all around the world. It's unheard of in humans and it's thought that it occurs differently in each of the groups listed above.



      In insects the mechanism is fairly well understood. A fly with XX chromosomes will be a female. However, an embryo that loses a Y chromosome still develops into what looks like an adult male, although it will be sterile. It's thought that bilateral gynandromorphism occurs when two sperm enter an egg. One of those sperm fuses with the nucleus of the egg and a female insect develops. The other sperm develops without another set of chromosomes within the same egg. Both a male and a female insect develop within the same body.

      There are several theories as to how this can occur in other animals, like birds. Some have suggested that these bilateral gynandromorphs are chimeras, where two separate embryos fuse together early in development - essentially the opposite of identical twins, where one embryo separates into two. Another hypothesis is that gynandromorphism in birds occurs when the sex chromosomes are unable to separate in the first cell division after fertilization. Others suggest that the error occurs in the formation of the egg itself, with an egg accidentally ending up carrying two chromosomes, one of each sex, rather than the single chromosome it should possess. If an egg like this was fertilized by two sperm the resulting embryo would contain some ZZ cells and some ZW cells (female birds have ZW chromosomes and males have ZZ).

      Ggynandromorphism doesn't always look so perfect. Sometimes animals can possess a strange patchwork of different cells all across their bodies - it can even occur within a single feather. But sometimes, like in the butterfly above, bilateral gynandromorphism occurs and you see this perfect division between the two halves of the body."

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