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  Topic: Science Break, Selected Shorts< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: July 28 2008,17:06   

My wife (who is Japanese) brought home a DVD the other day of a Japanese game show called "The Most Useful School in the World". It's a mildly educational show that is packaged inside a quiz show format that could only be dreamed up, and survive, in Japan.

In this episode, one segment was on iguanas of the Galapagos islands. The show introduced as the guest "expert" a Japanese doctor who had become a nature photographer. Interestingly, they also showed Charles Darwin's picture during the segment intro and talked about evolution. Imagine a game show trying that in the US?

The doctor showed pictures of the land iguanas eating prickly pear cactus, and showed that in areas with abundant iguanas, the prickly pear grew on a short pedestal base putting fleshy parts out of reach of the iguanas, while in areas without a lot of iguanas, it grew directly on the ground. This was given as an example of evolution.

The next film showed some of the adaptations of the sea iguanas, and asked the contestants to guess which feature had been modified the most in going to sea. The correct answer (according to the show) was that the sea iguana's claws were longer and sharper, the better to hold them against strong currents under water. (They showed great footage of the iguanas feeding underwater, gnawing seaweed off of rocks.)

Now the weird part was that they claimed that recent weather changes that had increased the foliage on the islands had given rise to the opportunity for some form of hybridization between land and sea iguanas. The result was a land iguana with claws strong enough to climb the pedestal of a prickly pear, and thereby acquire more resources.

Since this wasn't a peer reviewed game show, I was leery of accepting this story at face value, but I am trying to run down some facts. I thought I'd bring it to your attention as an example of how evolution fares in the pop culture of other countries, and also a cool example of real time evolution (if true). If I can find the show on YouTube or similar Japanese site, I will send a link.

Iím referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
Iím not an evolutionist, Iím a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima

  1753 replies since July 16 2008,08:10 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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