general evolution questions

From: Cathy Schaeff (schaeff@american.edu)
Date: Tue Feb 25 2003 - 15:58:19 EST

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    Hi Patrick,

    These are great questions. I think that you'll get most of the answers from the web sites below.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/faq/

    Best,

    Cathy Schaeff
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: patrick timony
      To: schaeff@american.edu ; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
      Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 12:02 AM
      Subject: evolution questions

      Hello Dr. Schaeff,

      I have two general questions about evolution that I'm hoping you might be able to answer. I'm thinking Marine biology because my questions are about things that happened long enough ago that they probably happened in the sea. Here they are:

      1. Did animals come from plants? Are hemoglobin and chlorophyl close enough in structure and function to have been related at one time? Could animals have developed from something like fern spores that got more and more mobile to be able to get from male to female flowers that were further away? Is that why every butterfly has a flower and every bird a fruit?

      Plants are organisms that can make their own food (organic carbon from inorganic via photosynthesis). Therefore, animals came first and plants evolved later, with the arrival of chloroplasts, etc. (check the web sites for specific info)

      2. Did teeth start out as parasites? I read once that the earliest cells evolved organs by establishing symbiotic relationships with parasites. Could that have happened further up the tree with organs like teeth? Is that why they have roots? Why are there 32 teeth and 33 vertebrae? Is there a connection?

      More complex organisms are thought to have arisen via symbiosis with other single celled organisms (one would engulf the other). This is not how teeth evolved (check the web sites for specific info). As far as I know, there is no connection between the number of vertebrate and number of teeth in a given species.

      If these are out of scope please let me know where I might go for answers. Thank you very much for your time and energy.

      Patrick Timony



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