Opinion drives evolution

Image thanks to Psychology Today

I’m back thinking about evolution. I’ve nearly finished my weighty tome ‘The Ant and the Peacock’ by Helena Cromin that I referred to in an earlier blog. On the back of the book I have become obsessed by two things, how species and how different sexes arise. 

I’m not thinking about the latter in this blog but I will leave you with one thing to ponder. Why are there only two sexes (in the biological sense rather than gender)?

Anyway, back to the question of how species arrive. It is a fascinating subject. Most thinkers attribute species separation to some geographical or physical break, making it impossible for the different halves of the former same species to breed. This is often seen in the rapid rise in new species on islands. Indeed it was Darwin’s visits to the Galapagos Islands that led him to many of his ideas.

This can’t though, in my opinion, account for all the different species that exist and so I am left wondering what other factors are in play. Could it be that opinion counts?

Take for example a single species of bird, with a significant amount of genetic diversity in its gene pool. Some birds have red tail feathers while others have blue. What happens then if the birds have a preference for mating with birds of their own colour. Could it be that eventually the red birds and the blue, by slow divergence, will become different species? I could see that happening. 

Is this possible in humans? There are significant differences in appearance in us as a species to make selection of a mate along these lines a possibility. Fortunately there are enough people who choose different characteristics to themselves in a mate to keep the gene pool circulating.

What about opinion though? According to The Independent: ‘Nearly two in five people who voted to remain in the EU would be upset if their child married a leave supporter. The YouGov poll of 2,380 people found more than one in 10 (11 percent) of remainers would describe themselves as “very upset” if their offspring tied the knot with a Brexiteer, while another 28 percent said they would be “somewhat upset”. The poll also found that 11 per cent of Labour supporters would be “very upset” if their child married a Tory, while just 2 percent of Conservatives said they would be similarly aggrieved if the positions were reversed.

Could it be, given enough time, humans will separate into two distinct species, either with, or without a strong pro-european gene? Well, you never know!

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